César Lattes

Cesare Mansueto Giulio Lattes (11 July 1924 – 8 March 2005), also known as César Lattes, was a Brazilian experimental physicist, one of the discoverers of the pion, a composite subatomic particle made of a quark and an antiquark.

César Lattes
Cesar Lattes, 1949
Cesare Mansueto Giulio Lattes

11 July 1924
Died8 March 2005 (aged 80)
Alma materUniversity of São Paulo
Known forDiscovery of the pion
Spouse(s)Martha Lattes
Scientific career
InfluencesGleb Wataghin


Lattes was born to a family of Italian-Jewish immigrants in Curitiba, Paraná Brazil. He did his first studies there and also in São Paulo. He then went to the University of São Paulo, graduating in 1943, in mathematics and physics. He was part of an initial group of young Brazilian physicists who worked under European teachers such as Gleb Wataghin and Giuseppe Occhialini. Lattes was considered the most brilliant of those and was noted at a very young age as a bold researcher. His colleagues, who also became important Brazilian scientists, were Oscar Sala, Mário Schenberg, Roberto Salmeron, Marcelo Damy de Souza Santos and Jayme Tiomno. At the age of 25, he was one of the founders of the Brazilian Center for Physical Research (Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas) in Rio de Janeiro.

From 1947 to 1948, Lattes launched on his main research line by studying cosmic rays. He visited a weather station on top of the 5,200-meter high Chacaltaya mountain in Bolivia, using photographic plates to register the rays. Travelling to England with his teacher Occhialini, Lattes went to work at the H. H. Wills Laboratory of the University of Bristol, directed by Cecil Powell. There, he improved on the nuclear emulsion used by Powell by adding more boron to it. In 1947, he made his great experimental discovery with Powell: the pion (or pi meson). Lattes then proceeded to write a paper for Nature without bothering to ask for Powell's consent. In the same year, he was responsible for calculating the new particle's mass. A year later, working with Eugene H. Gardner (1913-1950[1]) at UC Berkeley, Lattes was able to detect the artificial production of pions in the lab's cyclotron, by bombarding carbon atoms with alpha particles. He was just 24 years old.

In 1949, Lattes returned as a professor and researcher with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Brazilian Center for Physical Research. After another brief stay in the United States (from 1955 to 1957), he returned to Brazil and accepted a position at his alma mater, the Department of Physics of the University of São Paulo.

In 1967, Lattes accepted a position of full professor with the new "Gleb Wataghin" Institute of Physics at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), which he helped to found. He became also the chairman of the Department of Cosmic Rays, Chronology, High Energies and Leptons. In 1969, he and his group discovered the mass of the so-called fireballs, a phenomenon induced by naturally occurring high-energy collisions, and which was detected by means of special lead-chamber nuclear emulsion plates invented by him, and placed at the Chacaltaya peak of the Bolivian Andes.

Lattes retired in 1986, when he received from the Unicamp the titles of doctor honoris causa and professor emeritus. After retirement he continued to live in a house in the suburban area very near to the University's campus. He died of a heart attack on March 8, 2005 in Campinas, São Paulo.


Lattes is one of the most distinguished and honored Brazilian physicists, and his work was fundamental for the development of atomic physics. He was also a great scientific leader of Brazilian Physics and was one of the main personalities behind the creation of the important Brazilian National Research Council (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico). Due to his contribution in this process, the Brazilian national science data-base, Lattes Platform was named after him.

He figures as one of the few Brazilians in Isaac Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, as well as in the Encyclopædia Britannica. Although he was the main researcher and the first author of the historical Nature article describing the pion, Cecil Powell alone was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1950 for "his development of the photographic method of studying nuclear processes and his discoveries regarding mesons made with this method". The reason for this apparent neglect is that the Nobel Committee policy until 1960 was to give the award to the research group head, only. He received the TWAS Prize in 1987.[2] After his death UNICAMP decided to give his name to the central library.


"Science should be universal, without a doubt. However, one should not believe unconditionally in this."


Gilberto Gil's Grammy-winning 1998 album Quanta includes a song dedicated to Lattes, called "Ciência e Arte".


  1. ^ "Eugene Gardner". Physics Today. 4: 30. 1951. doi:10.1063/1.3067133.
  2. ^ "Prizes and Awards". The World Academy of Sciences. 2016.


External links

Deaths in March 2005

The following is a list of notable people who died in March 2005.

Entries for each day are listed alphabetically by surname. A typical entry lists information in the following sequence:

Name, age, country of citizenship at birth, subsequent country of citizenship (if applicable), reason for notability, cause of death (if known), and reference.

Giuseppe Occhialini

Giuseppe Paolo Stanislao "Beppo" Occhialini ForMemRS (Italian pronunciation: [dʒuˈzɛppe okkjaˈliːni]; 5 December 1907 – 30 December 1993) was an Italian physicist, who contributed to the discovery of the pion or pi-meson decay in 1947, with César Lattes and Cecil Frank Powell (Nobel Prize for Physics). At the time of this discovery, they were all working at the H. H. Wills Laboratory of the University of Bristol.

The X-ray satellite SAX was named BeppoSAX in his honour after its launch in 1996.

Gleb Wataghin

Gleb Vassielievich Wataghin (November 3, 1899 in Birzula, Russian Empire – October 10, 1986 in Turin, Italy); was a Russian -Italian experimental physicist and a great scientific leader who gave a great impulse to the teaching and research on physics in two continents: in the University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; and in the University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

Wataghin was hired in 1934 to found with other European physicists the Department of Physics of the recently founded University of São Paulo. There, he was the tutor of a brilliant group of young physicists, such as César Lattes, Oscar Sala, Mário Schenberg, Roberto Salmeron, Marcelo Damy de Souza Santos and Jayme Tiomno. The Institute of Physics of the State University of Campinas, in Campinas, Brazil, was named in his honour, as well as a prize in Physics. In 1955, he received a honorary doctorate from the University of São Paulo.He was awarded the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize in 1951 and was national member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, from 1960.

Hideki Yukawa

Hideki Yukawa (湯川 秀樹, Yukawa Hideki, 23 January 1907 – 8 September 1981), was a Japanese theoretical physicist and the first Japanese Nobel laureate for his prediction of the pi meson.


ICRANet, the International Center for Relativistic Astrophysics Network, is an international organization which promotes research activities in relativistic astrophysics and related areas. Its members are four countries and three Universities and Research Centers: the Republic of Armenia, the Federative Republic of Brazil, Italian Republic, the Vatican City State, the University of Arizona (USA), Stanford University (USA) and ICRA.

ICRANet headquarters are located in Pescara, Italy.

José Leite Lopes

José Leite Lopes (October 28, 1918 – June 12, 2006) was a Brazilian theoretical physicist who worked in the field of quantum field theory and particle physics.

Lattes (disambiguation)

Lattes is plural for latte. Lattes may also refer to:

Lattes, Hérault, a commune in the Hérault department, southern France

Lattes Platform, the Brazilian Gov. information system on science, tech. and innovation

César Lattes (1924–2005), a Brazilian physicist

Isaac Lattes (14th-century), a rabbi who lived in Provence

List of Brazilian inventions and discoveries

Brazilian inventions and discoveries are items, processes, techniques or discoveries which owe their existence either partially or entirely to a person born in Brazil or to a citizen of Brazil.

Bradykinin by Mauricio Rocha e Silva, Wilson Teixeira Beraldo and Gastão Rosenfeld

Chagas disease, pathogen, vector, host, clinical manifestations and epidemiology discovery, by Carlos Chagas

Chest photofluorography by Manuel Dias de Abreu

Epidemic typhus, pathogen discovery, by Henrique da Rocha Lima

Pion by César Lattes, one of the discoverers

Schistosomiasis, disease cycle discovery, by Pirajá da Silva

Jatene procedure by Adib Jatene

The airplane by Santos Dumont

Caller ID by Nélio José Nicolai

List of Brazilian scientists

This is a list of Brazilian scientists, those born in Brazil or who have established citizenship or residency there.

Manuel de Abreu, physician, inventor of abreugraphy (mass radiography of the lungs for screening tuberculosis)

Aziz Ab'Saber, geographer; geologist; ecologist recognized for the Theory of Refuges and Amazon studies; former president of the SBPC

Fernando Flávio Marques de Almeida, geologist

Carlos Paz de Araújo, scientist and inventor, holds nearly 600 patents in the area of nanotechnology

José Márcio Ayres, biologist, zoologist, primatologist

Marcia Barbosa, physicist

Eddy Bensoussan, physician

Wilson Teixeira Beraldo, co-discoverer of bradykinin

Thaisa Storchi Bergmann, astrophysicist at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul

Carlos Augusto Bertulani, physicist

Vital Brazil, physician and scientist, discoverer of the antivenom for snakes and other venomous animals

Ennio Candotti, physicist and scientific leader

Fernando Henrique Cardoso, sociologist and former President

José Cândido de Melo Carvalho, biologist, zoologist, entomologist

Carlos Chagas, biologist, zoologist, public health worker

Evandro Chagas, physician and biomedical scientist specialized in tropical medicine; son of Carlos Chagas

Gauss Moutinho Cordeiro, mathematician and statistician

Vera Cordeiro, social entrepreneur and physician

Newton da Costa (1929), mathematician and logician, recognised for his works in paraconsistent logic

Oswaldo Cruz, physician and public health champion, eliminated yellow fever, bubonic plague and smallpox in Rio de Janeiro at the turn of the 20th century

Emmanuel Dias-Neto, biologist and geneticist; described the sequencing methodology ORESTES

Johanna Döbereiner (1924–2000), biologist, discoverer of the nitrogen fixing role of soil bacteria

Adolpho Ducke, Croatian-Brazilian biologist; zoologist; entomologist; botanist

Florestan Fernandes (1920–1995), father of Brazilian sociology

Sérgio Henrique Ferreira, physician and pharmacologist, discovered the active principle of a drug for hypertension

Carlos Chagas Filho, physician and physiologist, former president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, former president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences; son of Carlos Chagas

Hércules Florence, pioneer of photography

Santiago Americano Freire (1908–1997), physician and professor of pharmacology, psychiatrist, writer, painter

Gilberto Freyre (1900–1987), historiographer and sociologist

Celso Furtado, noted economist and ideologue of economy of developing nations

Wagner Farid Gattaz, physician and scientist, member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences

Marcelo Gleiser, physicist, writer and professor of physics and astronomy at the Dartmouth College since 1991

José Goldemberg, physicist, former Minister of Science & Technology and Dean of the University of São Paulo

Émil Göldi, Swiss-Brazilian biologist; zoologist; naturalist

Bartolomeu de Gusmão, Brazilian Catholic priest, pioneer of aviation, the inventor of the balloon, became known as the "flying priest"

Jacques Hüber, Swiss-Brazilian biologist; botanist

Ivan Izquierdo, physician and neuroscientist; discovered neural mechanisms of memory

Jean Paul Jacob, electronic engineer, researcher and professor, research manager at the Almaden IBM Research Center, California

Adib Jatene, heart surgeon

Alexander Kellner, Liechtensteinian/Brazilian paleontologist

Warwick Estevam Kerr, geneticist, researcher on the biology and genetics of bees

Eduardo Krieger, physician and physiologist, former president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences

César Lattes, experimental physicist, co-discoverer of the pion, a type of subatomic particle, first president of the Brazilian National Research Council

Napoleão Laureano, cancer researcher

Aristides Leão, physician and physiologist, discovered Leão's depression, a phenomenon of nervous tissue

Ângelo Moreira da Costa Lima (1887–1964), doctor, entomologist

Henrique da Rocha Lima, physician, pathologist and infectologist, discovered Rickettsia prowazekii, the pathogen of epidemic typhus

José Leite Lopes, theoretical physicist

Adolfo Lutz, physician and pioneer of public health

José Lutzenberger (1926–2002), ecologist and zoologist

Daniel Martins-de-Souza, biologist; biochemist

Roberto Landell de Moura, pioneer of telephony

Fritz Müller, German-Brazilian biologist; zoologist; botanist; naturalist; entomologist

Miguel Nicolelis, neuroscientist, one of Scientific American's best scientists of 2004

Jacob Palis, mathematician of international fame, current president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences

Maurício Peixoto, engineer, mathematician, pioneered the studies on structural stability, author of Peixoto's theorem

Domingos Soares Ferreira Penna, biologist, zoologist, naturalist

José Aristodemo Pinotti, physician and gynecologist, former president of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Marcos Pontes, first Brazilian astronaut, Expedition 13

André Rebouças (1838–1898), pioneer engineer, brother of Antônio Rebouças Filho

José Reis, biologist, greatest Brazilian science writer

Gilberto Righi, biologist, zoologist, specialist on earthworms

Milton Santos (1926–2001), geographer, won the Vautrin Lud International Geography Prize, the highest award that can be gained in the field of geography

Alberto Santos-Dumont, aviator and inventor

Mário Schenberg, theoretical physicist

Helmut Sick, German-Brazilian biologist; zoologist; ornithologist

Lotar Siewerdt, agronomist; forage production

Manuel Augusto Pirajá da Silva, responsible for the identification and complete description of the pathogenic agent and the pathophysiological cycle of schistosomiasis disease

Maurício Rocha e Silva, physician and pharmacologist, discovered bradykinin, an active cardiovascular peptide

Nise da Silveira (1905–1999), psychiatrist and mental health reformer

Jorge Stolfi, computer scientist, professor at UNICAMP

Jayme Tiomno, experimental and theoretical nuclear physicist

Paulo Emílio Vanzolini, biologist, zoologist, herpetologist

Glaci Zancan, biochemist

Mayana Zatz, biologist and geneticist

Euryclides Zerbini, heart surgeon, pioneer of first heart transplant in Brazil

List of University of São Paulo alumni

This is a list of notable persons who have graduated from the University of São Paulo.

List of University of São Paulo faculty

This is a list of professors from the University of São Paulo.

March 8

March 8 is the 67th day of the year (68th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 298 days remaining until the end of the year.

Oscar Sala

Oscar Sala (born March 26, 1922 in Milan, Italy, d. January 2, 2010 in São Paulo, Brazil), Italian-Brazilian nuclear physicist and important scientific leader, Emeritus Professor of the Institute of Physics, University of São Paulo.


In particle physics, a pion (or a pi meson, denoted with the Greek letter pi: π) is any of three subatomic particles: π0, π+, and π−. Each pion consists of a quark and an antiquark and is therefore a meson. Pions are the lightest mesons and, more generally, the lightest hadrons. They are unstable, with the charged pions π+ and π− decaying with a mean lifetime of 26.033 nanoseconds (2.6033×10−8 seconds), and the neutral pion π0 decaying with a much shorter lifetime of 8.4×10−17 seconds. Charged pions most often decay into muons and muon neutrinos, while neutral pions generally decay into gamma rays.

The exchange of virtual pions, along with the vector, rho and omega mesons, provides an explanation for the residual strong force between nucleons. Pions are not produced in radioactive decay, but are commonly produced in high energy accelerators in collisions between hadrons. All types of pions are also produced in natural processes when high energy cosmic ray protons and other hadronic cosmic ray components interact with matter in the Earth's atmosphere. Recently, the detection of characteristic gamma rays originating from the decay of neutral pions in two supernova remnants has shown that pions are produced copiously after supernovas, most probably in conjunction with production of high energy protons that are detected on Earth as cosmic rays.The concept of mesons as the carrier particles of the nuclear force was first proposed in 1935 by Hideki Yukawa. While the muon was first proposed to be this particle after its discovery in 1936, later work found that it did not participate in the strong nuclear interaction. The pions, which turned out to be examples of Yukawa's proposed mesons, were discovered later: the charged pions in 1947, and the neutral pion in 1950.

Roberto Salmeron

Roberto Salmeron (born June 16, 1922 in São Paulo) is a Brazilian electrical engineer and experimental nuclear physicist and an emeritus Research Director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

Salmeron did his undergraduate studies in electrical engineering at the Escola Politécnica da Universidade de São Paulo, in São Paulo, and in physics in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (then named Universidade do Brasil), in Rio de Janeiro. From 1947 to 1950, he worked as researcher and physics instructor at the Escola Politécnica and in the Department of Physics of the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of the University of São Paulo, where he studied cosmic radiation under Italian physicists Gleb Wataghin and Giuseppe Occhialini. From 1950 to 1953, Salmeron worked at the recently created Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas (Brazilian Center of Physical Research) in Rio. In São Paulo and Rio, Salmeron was contemporary of a brilliant generation of young Brazilian physicists, such as César Lattes, José Leite Lopes, Oscar Sala, Mário Schenberg, Marcelo Damy de Souza Santos and Jayme Tiomno.

From 1953 onwards, Salmeron lived in Europe, first doing his Ph.D. from 1953 to 1955 at the University of Manchester, under Patrick Blackett, Nobel Prize winner of Physics, and then as an associate researcher in the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1955 to 1963.

In 1963, Salmeron returned to Brazil and accepted a post as professor of physics in the newly created Universidade de Brasília. Unfortunately, the military dictatorship repressed strongly the faculty with liberal and leftist ideas and he joined 223 other professors in protest, who resigned from the University in October 1965.

In 1966 Salmeron left definitely Brazil and went to work in Europe at CERN again, where he had an important role in experiments attempting to discover the quark–gluon plasma. Afterwards (1967) he worked at the École Polytechnique in Paris, France, one of the most important schools of engineering in the world.

Subatomic particle

In the physical sciences, subatomic particles are particles much smaller than atoms. The two types of subatomic particles are: elementary particles, which according to current theories are not made of other particles; and composite particles. Particle physics and nuclear physics study these particles and how they interact.

The idea of a particle underwent serious rethinking when experiments showed that light could behave like a stream of particles (called photons) as well as exhibiting wave-like properties. This led to the new concept of wave–particle duality to reflect that quantum-scale "particles" behave like both particles and waves (they are sometimes described as wavicles to reflect this). Another new concept, the uncertainty principle, states that some of their properties taken together, such as their simultaneous position and momentum, cannot be measured exactly. In more recent times, wave–particle duality has been shown to apply not only to photons but to increasingly massive particles as well.Interactions of particles in the framework of quantum field theory are understood as creation and annihilation of quanta of corresponding fundamental interactions. This blends particle physics with field theory.

Thermo-dielectric effect

The thermo-dielectric effect is the production of electric currents and charge separation during phase transition.

This interesting effect was discovered by Joaquim da Costa Ribeiro in 1944. The Brazilian physicist observed that solidification and melting of many dielectrics are accompanied by charge separation. A thermo-dielectric effect was demonstrated with carnauba wax, naphthalene and paraffin. Charge separation in ice was also expected. This effect was observed during water freezing period, electrical storm effects can be caused by this strange phenomenon. Effect was measured by many researches - Bernhard Gross, Armando Dias Tavares, Sergio Mascarenhas etc. César Lattes (co-discoverer of the pion) supposed that this was the only effect ever to be discovered entirely in Brasil.

Timeline of particle physics

The timeline of particle physics lists the sequence of particle physics theories and discoveries in chronological order. The most modern developments follow the scientific development of the discipline of particle physics.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.