1982
Atomic  


Fractional electric charges are discovered.

At Bell Laboratories Chinese-born Daniel Tsui & the German physicist Horst Störmer, investigating the "quantum Hall effect," discover that at extremely low temperatures electrons confined to move in a plane and subjected to a strong perpendicular magnetic field can behave as though they carried a fraction of an electric charge. This totally unexpected phenomenon is explained by theoretician Robert Betts Laughlin in terms of quantized bundles, or whirlpools, of magnetic field which replace electrons as current carriers, and are associated with one third of an elementary electric charge each.
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