Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Greatest physics paper in theory?

Over at Cosmic Variance the quest for the Greatest Physics Paper continues, and some astro papers crept in!

But, is it just me, or are pretty much all the astronomy paper nominations major observational discoveries, while most, if not all, the great physics paper nominations are theoretical?

This is probably blog bias, but having thought of it, it is hard to think of a great physics discovery or observation paper that ranks with the theory papers nominated; is this because experimental results tend to dribble out in multi-author papers?
The two I can think of in the nominee list are Michelson-Morley and Aspect experiment, and most physicists would take the associated theory papers (Einstein '05; and EPR and Bell theorem) over the discovery papers. Similarly I see the Dirac papers but not the Anderson positron paper (and I have an original copy of that on my shelf, thanks to Prof Anderson).




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