Quarks, Computers, and the Challenger Disaster
In the 1960s, there were increasing signs that protons, neutrons, and ultimately all strongly interacting particles were composed of smaller constituents. But there was no experimental proof for these constituents, which Murray Gell-Mann called quarks, so many physicists had doubts about their existence. In this context, Feynman made his last major contribution to physical research. In 1968, he showed how the high-energy collisions of electrons on protons could be interpreted as if the electrons had hit smaller particles inside the protons. This was the breakthrough, and soon no one doubted the existence of quarks any more.