After a decade of toiling in the business world, Nobelist Melvin Schwartz once again tries to make things happen in the lab

Melvin Schwartz remembers his first physics experiment. "I was seven," he says, "and I'd read that you could make a magnet by putting [electrical] current around iron." Wrapping a light cord around a pair of scissors didn't work, he recalls, but "there was a light socket, and I thought I'd try putting the current through the scissors."

The resulting short circuit blacked out the entire East Bronx, N.Y., apartment building where Schwartz's family lived. But it left the young experimenter undaunted. "I was absolutely intrigued by these physical laws," he says, "and with trying new ways to make things happen."

Fifty-one years later, colleagues say, Schwartz still epitomizes the experimental scientists' enthusiasm to penetrate the unknown. >From the rarefied realm of pure...

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