Introduction and Theoretical Background

  • Jack DungerEmail author
Part of the Springer Theses book series (Springer Theses)


The neutrino was first proposed to save energy conservation in nuclear \(\beta \) decay. By 1914, Chadwick had shown that the \(\beta \) energy spectrum was continuous [1], but \(\beta \) decay was then thought to be a two body process, in which the energy of the \(\beta \) and recoiling nucleus are exactly constrained by energy conservation. What followed was many years of controversy, as people questioned the apparently impossible experimental results [1] until they were confirmed by Ellis and Wooster in 1927 [2] and Meitner proved that the missing energy could not be accounted for by neutral \(\gamma \) rays [2]. These results famously led N. Bohr to suggest that perhaps energy conservation applied only in a ‘statistical sense’ [3].


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Merantix AGBerlinGermany

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