DOE-associated researchers have contributed to the advancement of a variety of science disciplines as a result of research they have conducted. Twenty years ago, the work of two of these researchers (Georges Charpak and Rudolph Marcus) was recognized when they were awarded Nobel Prizes.
Georges Charpak was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics "for his invention and development of particle detectors, in particular the multiwire proportional chamber".
"It's hard to imagine a particle physics experiment that wouldn't use one of his concepts. ... Particle physicists owe him a lot, and so does the general public, since his inventions yield applications in many other fields that use ionising radiation such as biology, radiology and nuclear medicine.
Georges Charpak ... revolutionised particle detection in 1968 ... . Before he proposed this new detector [the multiwire proportional chamber], particle physicists were thrilled by the bubble chamber, though analysing data at that time was fastidious, requiring loads of manpower. Charpak took advantage of the development of electronics to develop a new ionisation detector that combined the technology of tube detectors ... with proportional counters for energy measurement. His historical 100-square-centimetre detector was able to detect one million particle events per second when former one-square-metre proportional chambers could count only one hundred. Thanks to multiwire chambers and its daughters that equipped from then nearly all detectors, major discoveries and observation in particle physics followed, from Z and W bosons in 1983 at CERN to the top quark at Fermilab in Chicago. With Charpak's new detector particle physics entered a new era."1