Martin Perl (1927 - 2014)

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Martin Perl (AP Photo) Martin Perl in the Science Memorials Photo Gallery Enlarged Photo
PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) - A Nobel Prize-winning physicist from Stanford University who discovered a subatomic particle known as the tau lepton has died at age 87.

The university said Martin Perl died at Stanford Hospital on Tuesday. Perl was one of two American scientists who shared the Nobel Prize for physics in 1995.

He was recognized for work he did during the 1970s at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, a federally funded laboratory where scientists investigate the tiniest pieces of nature.

At the time Perl discovered the tau lepton, many physicists doubted the heavyweight cousin of the electron existed.

In a 1995 interview with The Associated Press, Perl acknowledged that while his research defied easy explanation, he hoped that understanding the building blocks of matter would lead to advancements in fields such as alternative energy.

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