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Piccioni, Oreste

Born: 1915 AD
Died: 2002 AD
Nationality: N/A
Categories: Physicists

1915 Oct 24 – Born in Siena, Italy

1938 – Ph.D. in physics, University of Rome, under Enrico Fermi

WWII – Did physics research "underground" in the basement of a high school in Rome

1947 – Paper by Conversi, Pancini, and Piccioni showed that the mu-mesons were almost certainly not the "Yukawa meson", the mediators of the strong nuclear force, as previously believed. (The Yukawa meson turned out to be the three pi-mesons, which decay into mu-mesons or gamma rays.)

~1947 Came to US; first at MIT, then Brookhaven; devised key scheme for extracting particle beams from synchrotrons for external use and study.

~1955 UC Berkeley Contributed to anti-proton discovery experiment at Bevatron; discovered anti-neutron.

1960 At UC San Diego, did "regeneration" experiments on K0 and K0-Bar mesons, which are quantum superpositions of long- and short-lived particles (KL & KS) of different mass and lifetime. Measured the mass difference.

1972 File lawsuit over old controversy regarding credit for anti-proton discovery, and Nobel Prize; suit ultimately ruled untimely by court.

~1984ff Worked on the EPR Paradox and foundations of quantum mechanics.

1986 Retired as Prof of Physics Emeritus at UCSD; continued work on EPR.

1999 Awarded prestigious Matteucci medal by Accademia Nazionale delle Sciencze of Italy for seminal contributions to elementary particle physics.

2002 April 13 – Died in San Diego County, CA, USA.


Oreste had the most brilliant intuition of any scientist I have ever known well personally.  He could be very kind and utterly charming.  It was an inspiration working with him, but his demons together with my own flaws made it impossible for me to fully benefit from what he had to teach about how to do science effectively — W.A. Wheaton



– Biography at UCSD Physics Department, http://physics.ucsd.edu/fac_staff/profiles/po.html

– Guardian Unlimited Obituary, 2002, at http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/physicalscience/story/0,,709400,00.html

– Personal memories of Wm. A. Wheaton, his graduate student at UCSD, 1965-1969.