Georges Charpak, Particle Detectors, and Multiwire Chambers

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Georges Charpak
Courtesy of CERN

Nobel laureate Georges Charpak [was] a pioneer in the art and science of particle detection … . [He] developed a host of particle detectors used throughout experimental particle physics. In 1968, he invented and developed the first multiwire proportional chamber, for which he won the [Physics] Nobel Prize in 1992 … .

The multiwire chamber differed from earlier detectors in the speed with which it could record particle tracks from a collision—millions per second, rather than one or two per second for bubble chambers. The speed of the multiwire chamber and its successor technologies, along with their extraordinary precision, led to a revolution in particle physics … . The technology that Charpak pioneered also finds applications in medicine and industry.

Fermilab physicist and fellow Nobelist Leon Lederman served as Fermilab director during the time Charpak participated in experiments at Fermilab.

Charpak developed the wire chamber design that CDF used for its central tracking chamber.

Edited excerpts from Georges Charpak, Detector Pioneer …, Fermilab Today, September 30, 2010


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