Letter | Published:

Use of the Termination -tron in Physics

Nature volume 143, page 602 (08 April 1939) | Download Citation

Subjects

Abstract

IN the invention of names in physics, there appear to be two schools of philological thought as to the meaning of the termination-tron. According to one school, it is derived from a Greek word signifying an instrument, as illustrated by cyclotron or thyratron, whereas according to the other it signifies an elementary particle, as in positron and now mesotron. The decision as to which is the better meaning is in no way helped by reference to authority, for the ancients appear to have been wholly ignorant of the use of the word in either sense, or indeed in any sense at all. It is perhaps none the worse for that, but it does seem an unnecessary confusion to introduce, out of all possible combinations of letters, exactly the same four to represent a new machine or a new particle. If the termination is to be accepted for both, it is indeed rather hard to think of anything in modern physics to which it might not be applied.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. National Physical Laboratory, Teddington. Mar. 23.

    • C. G. DARWIN

Authors

  1. Search for C. G. DARWIN in:

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/143602a0

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.