1933 – Fermi develops theory of weak interaction and baptizes the neutrino

1933, Enrico Fermi had developed a theory of beta decay to include the neutrino, presumed to be massless as well as chargeless. Treating the beta decay as a transition that depended upon the strength of coupling between the initial and final states, Fermi developed a relationship which is now referred to as Fermi’s Golden Rule. Straightforward in concept, Fermi’s Golden Rule says that the transition rate is proportional to the strength of the coupling between the initial and final states factored by the density of final states available to the system. But the nature of the interaction which led to beta decay was unknown in Fermi’s time (the weak interaction). It took some 20 years of work (Krane) to work out a detailed model which fit the observations.

Fermi’s Formula