This is a timeline of subatomic particle discoveries, including all particles thus far discovered which appear to be elementary (that is, indivisible) given the best available evidence. It also includes the discovery of composite particles and antiparticles that were of particular historical importance.

More specifically, the inclusion criteria are:

Time Event
1800 William Herschel discovers "heat rays" (now known as infrared)
1801 Johann Wilhelm Ritter made the hallmark observation that invisible rays just beyond the violet end of the visible spectrum were especially effective at lightening silver chloride-soaked paper. He called them "de-oxidizing rays" to emphasize chemical reactivity and to distinguish them from "heat rays" at the other end of the invisible spectrum (both of which were later determined to be photons). The more general term "chemical rays" was adopted shortly thereafter to describe the oxidizing rays, and it remained popular throughout the 19th century. The terms chemical and heat rays were eventually dropped in favor of ultraviolet and infrared radiation, respectively.[1]
1895 Discovery of the ultraviolet radiation below 200 nm, named vacuum ultraviolet (later identified as photons) because it is strongly absorbed by air, by the German physicist Victor Schumann[2]
1895 X-ray produced by Wilhelm Röntgen (later identified as photons)[3]
1897 Electron discovered by J. J. Thomson[4]
1899 Alpha particle discovered by Ernest Rutherford in uranium radiation[5]
1900 Gamma ray (a high-energy photon) discovered by Paul Villard in uranium decay[6]
1911 Atomic nucleus identified by Ernest Rutherford, based on scattering observed by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden[7]
1919 Proton discovered by Ernest Rutherford[8]
1931 Deuteron discovered by Harold Urey[9][10] (predicted by Rutherford in 1920[11])
1932 Neutron discovered by James Chadwick[12] (predicted by Rutherford in 1920[11])
1932 Antielectron (or positron), the first antiparticle, discovered by Carl D. Anderson[13] (proposed by Paul Dirac in 1927 and by Ettore Majorana in 1928)
1937 Muon (or mu lepton) discovered by Seth Neddermeyer, Carl D. Anderson, J.C. Street, and E.C. Stevenson, using cloud chamber measurements of cosmic rays[14] (it was mistaken for the pion until 1947[15])
1947 Pion (or pi meson) discovered by C. F. Powell's group, including César Lattes (first author) and Giuseppe Occhialini (predicted by Hideki Yukawa in 1935[16])
1947 Kaon (or K meson), the first strange particle, discovered by George Dixon Rochester and Clifford Charles Butler[17]
(or lambda baryon) discovered during a study of cosmic-ray interactions[18]
1955 Antiproton discovered by Owen Chamberlain, Emilio Segrè, Clyde Wiegand, and Thomas Ypsilantis[19]
1956 Electron neutrino detected by Frederick Reines and Clyde Cowan (proposed by Wolfgang Pauli in 1930 to explain the apparent violation of conservation of energy in beta decay)[20] At the time it was simply referred to as neutrino since there was only one known neutrino.
1962 Muon neutrino (or mu neutrino) shown to be distinct from the electron neutrino by a group headed by Leon Lederman[21]
1964 Omega baryon[22] and Xi baryon discovery at Brookhaven National Laboratory[23]
1969 Partons (internal constituents of hadrons) observed in deep inelastic scattering experiments between protons and electrons at SLAC;[24][25] this was eventually associated with the quark model (predicted by Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig in 1964) and thus constitutes the discovery of the up quark, down quark, and strange quark.
1974 J/ψ meson discovered by groups headed by Burton Richter and Samuel Ting, demonstrating the existence of the charm quark[26][27] (proposed by James Bjorken and Sheldon Glashow in 1964[28])
1975 Tau discovered by a group headed by Martin Perl[29]
1977 Upsilon meson discovered at Fermilab, demonstrating the existence of the bottom quark[30] (proposed by Kobayashi and Maskawa in 1973)
1979 Gluon observed indirectly in three-jet events at DESY[31]
1983 W and Z bosons discovered by Carlo Rubbia, Simon van der Meer, and the CERN UA1 collaboration[32][33] (predicted in detail by Sheldon Glashow, Mohammad Abdus Salam, and Steven Weinberg)
1995 Top quark discovered at Fermilab[34][35]
1995 Antihydrogen produced and measured by the LEAR experiment at CERN[36]
2000 Quark-gluon fireball discovered at CERN[37]
2000 Tau neutrino first observed directly at Fermilab[38]
2011 Antihelium-4 produced and measured by the STAR detector; the first particle to be discovered by the experiment
2012 A particle exhibiting most of the predicted characteristics of the Higgs boson discovered by researchers conducting the Compact Muon Solenoid and ATLAS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider[39]

See also


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  18. ^ The Strange Quark
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