Val L. Fitch, the CP Violation, and Antimatter

Resources with Additional Information

Val L. Fitch
Courtesy Fermi National
Accelerator Laboratory

Val Fitch, along with James Cronin, used Brookhaven National Laboratory's Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) 'to verify a fundamental tenet of physics, known as CP [charge-parity] symmetry, by showing that two different particles did not decay into the same products. They picked as their example neutral K mesons, which are routinely produced in collisions between a proton beam and a stationary metal target. '1

Cronin received the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award in 1976 for major experimental contributions to particle physics including fundamental work on weak interactions culminating in the discovery of asymmetry under time reversal.

What they found was that, 'occasionally, the long-lived neutral K meson does decay into two pi mesons. Cronin and Fitch had found an example of CP violation.

The discovery's ramifications stretched far beyond the neutral K mesons; Cronin and Fitch had discovered a flaw in physics' central belief that the universe is symmetrical.

Val Fitch was actively involved with the Board of Trustees of Associated Universities, Inc., which managed Brookhaven Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy from 1947 to 1997. From 1961-1967, and 1988-1991, he was a trustee; from 1991-1993, he served as Chairman of the Board; and in 1993, he returned to the Board as a member.'1

Fitch and Cronin, both from Princeton University, won the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physics for "the discovery of violations of fundamental symmetry principles in the decay of neutral K-mesons".

1 Edited excerpt from CP Violation


Resources with Additional Information

Additional information about Val Logsdon Fitch, charge-parity (CP) violation, and antimatter is available in electronic documents and on the Web.


Some Notes on Wideband Feedback Amplifiers, DOE Technical Report, March 1949

A High Resolution Scale-of-four, DOE Technical Report, August 1949

CP Violation, Neutral Currents, and Weak Equivalence, DOE Technical Report, March 1972

Results on the Performance of a Broad Band Focusing Cherenkov Counter, DOE Technical Report, 1980


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