Re: Newton Quote
In 1964, American physicist Murray Gell-Mann made the wild suggestion
Yup, after having rubbished the idea thoroughly when his colleagues came to talk about this. He always insisted that it was just a "mathematical shortcut" for hadron structure, then ran with the idea when experimental data came in.
As to the name... from Frank Close's book on the Higgs:
By the 1960s, experiments with cosmic rays and at accelerators had revealed scores of hadrons. In 1962 Gell-Mann found a way of gathering the mushrooming hadrons into families, most famously containing sets of eight. He poetically named his scheme the "Eightfold Way" after the Buddhist path to truth. The mathematics behind this involved group theory, and the particular group known as SU(3).
In March 1963 Gell-Mann gave a talk at Columbia University about his new SU(3) theory. A couple of weeks earlier another theorist, Gian Carlo Wick, had given an introductory seminar about SU(3); upon hearing it, Robert Serber realised that in addition to families of eight and ten, which had already been discovered, there should be a basic family of three (as in SU “three”) and, moreover, the octets and tens could be built up as composed of groups of these more basic entities. As Serber later recalled: “The suggestion was immediate; the [hadrons] were not elementary but were made of [what we now call] quarks."
A fortnight later, Gell-Mann was in town. During lunch at the Faculty Club, Serber explained the idea to him. Gell-Mann asked what the electric charge of the basic trio is. Serber had not looked into this, so Gell-Mann figured it out on a table napkin. The answer turned out to be 2/3 or -1/3 fractions of a proton’s charge, which was an “appalling result”, as no such charges had ever been seen. Gell-Mann mentioned this in the colloquium, and said that such things would be a “strange quirk of nature”. Serber remarked later: “Quirk was jokingly transformed into quark.”
Finnegan's Wake? Not so much. But so history is made.