Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


Date of this Version

January 1989


Published in Nuclear Tracks and Radiation Measurements 16:2/3 (1989), pp. 221–224; now known as Radiation Measurements; formerly International Journal of Radiation Applications and Instrumentation. Part D. Nuclear Tracks and Radiation Measurements. Published by 1989 Pergamon Press plc. Used by permission.


Let me thank all of you for being here, Tony Starace, for having conceived this meeting, and Bob Wood and Matesh Varma, for over 20 years of support without which there would have been no track physics. There are many others to thank: the students, postdoctorates, and senior visitors who actually did all the work, and the many investigators around the world who made measurements that proved to be essential to developing and testing the notions of particle tracks.

This enterprise began when I undertook to rewrite an introductory physics text by Henry Semat to adapt it to a calculus-based course. That became Physics, by Henry Semat and Robert Katz, published in 1958. In that writing I became persuaded of the beauty of the magnetic monopole as a pedagogic device in the teaching of electricity and magnetism. Later I looked into special relativity to check the validity of my notions. That resulted in a Momentum book sponsored by the Commission of College Physics which was titled An Introduction to the Special Theory of Relativity. There I showed how easy it was to make relativistic transformations of the electric and magnetic fields, if only one admitted the use of poles. I may have been the first to write an explicit expression for the Lorentz force on a pole. That equation said that a moving pole would describe a helical path in a uniform electric field. This became one possible basis for the identification of the pole.

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