Steven Weinberg ForMemRS
Weinberg at the 2010 Texas Book Festival
Louise Weinberg (m. 1954)
|Thesis||The role of strong interactions in decay processes (1957)|
|Doctoral advisor||Sam Treiman|
|Influenced||Alan Guth [ citation needed ]|
Steven Weinberg ForMemRS ( // ; born May 3, 1933) is an American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics for his contributions with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow to the unification of the weak force and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles.
Theoretical physics is a branch of physics that employs mathematical models and abstractions of physical objects and systems to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena. This is in contrast to experimental physics, which uses experimental tools to probe these phenomena.
A physicist is a scientist who specializes in the field of physics, which encompasses the interactions of matter and energy at all length and time scales in the physical universe. Physicists generally are interested in the root or ultimate causes of phenomena, and usually frame their understanding in mathematical terms. Physicists work across a wide range of research fields, spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic and particle physics, through biological physics, to cosmological length scales encompassing the universe as a whole. The field generally includes two types of physicists: experimental physicists who specialize in the observation of physical phenomena and the analysis of experiments, and theoretical physicists who specialize in mathematical modeling of physical systems to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena. Physicists can apply their knowledge towards solving practical problems or to developing new technologies.
The Nobel Prize in Physics is a yearly award given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for those who have made the most outstanding contributions for humankind in the field of physics. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others being the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
He holds the Josey Regental Chair in Science at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a member of the Physics and Astronomy Departments. His research on elementary particles and physical cosmology has been honored with numerous prizes and awards, including in 1979 the Nobel Prize in Physics and in 1991 the National Medal of Science. In 2004 he received the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the American Philosophical Society, with a citation that said he is "considered by many to be the preeminent theoretical physicist alive in the world today." He has been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences and Britain's Royal Society, as well as to the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The University of Texas at Austin is a public research university in Austin, Texas. It was founded in 1883 and is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. The University of Texas was inducted into the Association of American Universities in 1929, becoming only the third university in the American South to be elected. The institution has the nation's eighth-largest single-campus enrollment, with over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 24,000 faculty and staff.
In particle physics, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a subatomic particle with no sub structure, thus not composed of other particles. Particles currently thought to be elementary include the fundamental fermions, which generally are "matter particles" and "antimatter particles", as well as the fundamental bosons, which generally are "force particles" that mediate interactions among fermions. A particle containing two or more elementary particles is a composite particle.
Physical cosmology is a branch of cosmology concerned with the studies of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the Universe and with fundamental questions about its origin, structure, evolution, and ultimate fate. Cosmology as a science originated with the Copernican principle, which implies that celestial bodies obey identical physical laws to those on Earth, and Newtonian mechanics, which first allowed us to understand those physical laws. Physical cosmology, as it is now understood, began with the development in 1915 of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, followed by major observational discoveries in the 1920s: first, Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe contains a huge number of external galaxies beyond our own Milky Way; then, work by Vesto Slipher and others showed that the universe is expanding. These advances made it possible to speculate about the origin of the universe, and allowed the establishment of the Big Bang Theory, by Georges Lemaître, as the leading cosmological model. A few researchers still advocate a handful of alternative cosmologies; however, most cosmologists agree that the Big Bang theory explains the observations better.
Weinberg's articles on various subjects occasionally appear in The New York Review of Books and other periodicals. He has served as consultant at the U. S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, President of the Philosophical Society of Texas, and member of the Board of Editors of Daedalus magazine, the Council of Scholars of the Library of Congress, the JASON group of defense consultants, and many other boards and committees.
The New York Review of Books is a semi-monthly magazine with articles on literature, culture, economics, science and current affairs. Published in New York City, it is inspired by the idea that the discussion of important books is an indispensable literary activity. Esquire called it "the premier literary-intellectual magazine in the English language." In 1970 writer Tom Wolfe described it as "the chief theoretical organ of Radical chic".
The Library of Congress (LOC) is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; it also maintains the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia. The Library's functions are overseen by the Librarian of Congress, and its buildings are maintained by the Architect of the Capitol. The Library of Congress has claimed to be the largest library in the world. Its "collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages."
JASON is an independent group of elite scientists which advises the United States government on matters of science and technology, mostly of a sensitive nature. The group was first created as a way to get a younger generation of scientists—that is, not the older Los Alamos and MIT Radiation Laboratory alumni—involved in advising the government. It was established in 1960 and has somewhere between 30 and 60 members. Its work first gained public notoriety as the source of the Vietnam War's McNamara Line electronic barrier. Although most of its research is military-focused, JASON also produced early work on the science of global warming and acid rain. Current unclassified research interests include health informatics, cyberwarfare, and renewable energy.
Steven Weinberg was born in 1933 in New York City. His parents were Jewishimmigrants. He graduated from Bronx High School of Science in 1950. He was in the same graduating class as Sheldon Glashow, whose own research, independent of Weinberg's, would result in their (and Abdus Salam) sharing the 1979 Nobel in Physics (see below).
The Bronx High School of Science is a public magnet, specialized high school in Bronx, New York, United States. It is operated by the New York City Department of Education.
Sheldon Lee Glashow is a Nobel Prize winning American theoretical physicist. He is the Metcalf Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Boston University and Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at Harvard University, and is a member of the Board of Sponsors for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Mohammad Abdus Salam, was a Pakistani theoretical physicist. He shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg for his contribution to the electroweak unification theory. He was the first Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize in science and the second from an Islamic country to receive any Nobel Prize.
Weinberg received his bachelor's degree from Cornell University in 1954. He then went to the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen where he started his graduate studies and research. After one year, Weinberg moved to Princeton University where he earned his PhD degree in physics in 1957, for research supervised by Sam Treiman.
Cornell University is a private and statutory Ivy League research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell's founding principle, a popular 1868 Ezra Cornell quotation: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."
The Niels Bohr Institute is a research institute of the University of Copenhagen. The research of the institute spans astronomy, geophysics, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum mechanics and biophysics.
Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, and renamed itself Princeton University in 1896.
After completing his PhD, Weinberg worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University (1957–1959) and University of California, Berkeley (1959) and then he was promoted to faculty at Berkeley (1960–1966). He did research in a variety of topics of particle physics, such as the high energy behavior of quantum field theory, symmetry breaking,pion scattering, infrared photons and quantum gravity. It was also during this time that he developed the approach to quantum field theory that is described in the first chapters of his book The Quantum Theory of Fields and started to write his textbook Gravitation and Cosmology. Both textbooks are among the most influential texts in the scientific community in their subjects.
A postdoctoral researcher or postdoc is a person professionally conducting research after the completion of their doctoral studies. The ultimate goal of a postdoctoral research position is to pursue additional research, training, or teaching in order to have better skills to pursue a career in academia, research, or any other fields. Postdocs often, but not always, have a temporary academic appointment, sometimes in preparation for an academic faculty position. They continue their studies or carry out research and further increase expertise in a specialist subject, including integrating a team and acquiring novel skills and research methods. Postdoctoral research is often considered essential while advancing the scholarly mission of the host institution; it is expected to produce relevant publications in peer-reviewed academic journals or conferences. In some countries, postdoctoral research may lead to further formal qualifications or certification, while in other countries it does not.
Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in Upper Manhattan, New York City. Established in 1754, Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. It has been ranked by numerous major education publications as among the top ten universities in the world.
The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university in Berkeley, California. It was founded in 1868 and serves as the flagship institution of the ten research universities affiliated with the University of California system. Berkeley has since grown to instruct over 40,000 students in approximately 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs covering numerous disciplines.
In 1966, Weinberg left Berkeley and accepted a lecturer position at Harvard. In 1967 he was a visiting professor at MIT. It was in that year at MIT that Weinberg proposed his model of unification of electromagnetism and of nuclear weak forces (such as those involved in beta-decay and kaon-decay),with the masses of the force-carriers of the weak part of the interaction being explained by spontaneous symmetry breaking. One of its fundamental aspects was the prediction of the existence of the Higgs boson. Weinberg's model, now known as the electroweak unification theory, had the same symmetry structure as that proposed by Glashow in 1961: hence both models included the then-unknown weak interaction mechanism between leptons, known as neutral current and mediated by the Z boson. The 1973 experimental discovery of weak neutral currents (mediated by this Z boson) was one verification of the electroweak unification. The paper by Weinberg in which he presented this theory is one of the most cited works ever in high energy physics.
After his 1967 seminal work on the unification of weak and electromagnetic interactions, Steven Weinberg continued his work in many aspects of particle physics, quantum field theory, gravity, supersymmetry, superstrings and cosmology, as well as a theory called Technicolor.
In the years after 1967, the full Standard Model of elementary particle theory was developed through the work of many contributors. In it, the weak and electromagnetic interactions already unified by the work of Weinberg, Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow, are made consistent with a theory of the strong interactions between quarks, in one overarching theory. In 1973 Weinberg proposed a modification of the Standard Model which did not contain that model's fundamental Higgs boson.
Weinberg became Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics at Harvard University in 1973.
In 1979 he pioneered the modern view on the renormalization aspect of quantum field theory that considers all quantum field theories as effective field theories and changed the viewpoint of previous work (including his own in his 1967 paper) that a sensible quantum field theory must be renormalizable.This approach allowed the development of effective theory of quantum gravity, low energy QCD, heavy quark effective field theory and other developments, and it is a topic of considerable interest in current research.
In 1979, some six years after the experimental discovery of the neutral currents – i.e. the discovery of the inferred existence of the Z boson – but following the 1978 experimental discovery of the theory's predicted amount of parity violation due to Z bosons' mixing with electromagnetic interactions, Weinberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, together with Sheldon Glashow, and Abdus Salam who had independently proposed a theory of electroweak unification based on spontaneous symmetry breaking.
In 1982 Weinberg moved to the University of Texas at Austin as the Jack S. Josey-Welch Foundation Regents Chair in Science and founded the Theory Group of the Physics Department.
There is current (2008) interest in Weinberg's 1976 proposal of the existence of new strong interactions– a proposal dubbed "Technicolor" by Leonard Susskind – because of its chance of being observed in the LHC as an explanation of the hierarchy problem.
Steven Weinberg is frequently among the top scientists with highest research effect indices, such as the h-index and the creativity index.
Besides his scientific research, Steven Weinberg has been a prominent public spokesman for science, testifying before Congress in support of the Superconducting Super Collider, writing articles for the New York Review of Books ,and giving various lectures on the larger meaning of science. His books on science written for the public combine the typical scientific popularization with what is traditionally considered history and philosophy of science and atheism.
Weinberg was a major participant in what is known as the Science Wars, standing with Paul R. Gross, Norman Levitt, Alan Sokal, Lewis Wolpert, and Richard Dawkins, on the side arguing for the hard realism of science and scientific knowledge and against the constructionism proposed by such social scientists as Stanley Aronowitz, Barry Barnes, David Bloor, David Edge, Harry Collins, Steve Fuller, and Bruno Latour.
Although still teaching physics, he has, in recent years, turned his hand to the history of science, efforts that culminated in To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science (2015).A hostile review in the Wall Street Journal by Steven Shapin attracted a number of commentaries, a response by Weinberg, and an exchange of views between Weinberg and Arthur Silverstein in the NYRB in February 2016.
In 2016, he became a default figurehead for faculty and students opposed to a new law that allowed the carrying of concealed guns in UT classrooms. Weinberg announced that he would be prohibiting guns from his classes, and said he would stand by his decision to violate university regulations in this matter even if faced with a lawsuit.
Weinberg married Louise Weinberg in 1954 and has one daughter, Elizabeth.
Weinberg is also known for his support of Israel. He wrote an essay titled "Zionism and Its Cultural Adversaries" to explain his views on the issue.
Weinberg has canceled trips to universities in the United Kingdom because of British boycotts directed towards Israel. He has explained:
Weinberg is an atheist.Weinberg stated his views on religion in 1999:
Frederick Douglass told in his Narrative how his condition as a slave became worse when his master underwent a religious conversion that allowed him to justify slavery as the punishment of the children of Ham. Mark Twain described his mother as a genuinely good person, whose soft heart pitied even Satan, but who had no doubt about the legitimacy of slavery, because in years of living in antebellum Missouri she had never heard any sermon opposing slavery, but only countless sermons preaching that slavery was God's will. With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.
The honors and awards that Professor Weinberg received include:
A list of Weinberg's publications can be found on the arXivand Scopus.
The Standard Model of particle physics is the theory describing three of the four known fundamental forces in the universe, as well as classifying all known elementary particles. It was developed in stages throughout the latter half of the 20th century, through the work of many scientists around the world, with the current formulation being finalized in the mid-1970s upon experimental confirmation of the existence of quarks. Since then, confirmation of the top quark (1995), the tau neutrino (2000), and the Higgs boson (2012) have added further credence to the Standard Model. In addition, the Standard Model has predicted various properties of weak neutral currents and the W and Z bosons with great accuracy.
In mathematics and physics, a scalar field associates a scalar value to every point in a space – possibly physical space. The scalar may either be a (dimensionless) mathematical number or a physical quantity. In a physical context, scalar fields are required to be independent of the choice of reference frame, meaning that any two observers using the same units will agree on the value of the scalar field at the same absolute point in space regardless of their respective points of origin. Examples used in physics include the temperature distribution throughout space, the pressure distribution in a fluid, and spin-zero quantum fields, such as the Higgs field. These fields are the subject of scalar field theory.
Julian Seymour Schwinger was a Nobel Prize winning American theoretical physicist. He is best known for his work on the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED), in particular for developing a relativistically invariant perturbation theory, and for renormalizing QED to one loop order. Schwinger was a physics professor at several universities.
Frank Anthony Wilczek is an American theoretical physicist, mathematician and a Nobel laureate. He is currently the Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Founding Director of T. D. Lee Institute and Chief Scientist Wilczek Quantum Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), Distinguished Origins Professor at Arizona State University (ASU) and full Professor at Stockholm University.
The axion is a hypothetical elementary particle postulated by the Peccei–Quinn theory in 1977 to resolve the strong CP problem in quantum chromodynamics (QCD). If axions exist and have low mass within a specific range, they are of interest as a possible component of cold dark matter.
The W and Z bosons are together known as the weak or more generally as the intermediate vector bosons. These elementary particles mediate the weak interaction; the respective symbols are
. The W bosons have either a positive or negative electric charge of 1 elementary charge and are each other's antiparticles. The Z boson is electrically neutral and is its own antiparticle. The three particles have a spin of 1. The W bosons have a magnetic moment, but the Z has none. All three of these particles are very short-lived, with a half-life of about 3×10−25 s. Their experimental discovery was a triumph for what is now known as the Standard Model of particle physics.
In quantum field theory, a false vacuum is a hypothetical vacuum that is somewhat, but not entirely, stable. It may last for a very long time in that state, and might eventually move to a more stable state. The most common suggestion of how such a change might happen is called bubble nucleation - if a small region of the universe by chance reached a more stable vacuum, this 'bubble' would spread.
The Alternative models to the Standard Higgs Model are models which are considered by many particle physicists to solve some of the Higgs boson's existing problems. Two of the most currently researched models are quantum triviality, and Higgs hierarchy problem.
In particle physics, the history of quantum field theory starts with its creation by Paul Dirac, when he attempted to quantize the electromagnetic field in the late 1920s. Major advances in the theory were made in the 1940s and 1950s, and led to the introduction of renormalized quantum electrodynamics (QED). QED was so successful and accurately predictive that efforts were made to apply the same basic concepts for the other forces of nature. By the late 1970s, these efforts successfully utilized gauge theory in the strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force, producing the modern standard model of particle physics.
Benjamin Whisoh Lee or Ben Lee, was a Korean-born American theoretical physicist. His work in theoretical particle physics exerted great influence on the development of the standard model in the late 20th century, especially on the renormalization of the electro-weak model and gauge theory.
Erick J. Weinberg is a theoretical physicist and professor of physics at Columbia University.
In theoretical physics, the unitarity gauge or unitary gauge is a particular choice of a gauge fixing in a gauge theory with a spontaneous symmetry breaking. In this gauge, the scalar fields responsible for the Higgs mechanism are transformed into a basis in which their Goldstone boson components are set to zero. In other words, the unitarity gauge makes the manifest number of scalar degrees of freedom minimal.
François, Baron Englert is a Belgian theoretical physicist and 2013 Nobel prize laureate.
Carl Richard Hagen is a professor of particle physics at the University of Rochester. He is most noted for his contributions to the Standard Model and Symmetry breaking as well as the 1964 co-discovery of the Higgs mechanism and Higgs boson with Gerald Guralnik and Tom Kibble (GHK). As part of Physical Review Letters 50th anniversary celebration, the journal recognized this discovery as one of the milestone papers in PRL history. While widely considered to have authored the most complete of the early papers on the Higgs theory, GHK were controversially not included in the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Christopher T. Hill is an American theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory who did undergraduate work in physics at M.I.T., and graduate work at Caltech. Hill's Ph.D. thesis, "Higgs Scalars and the Nonleptonic Weak Interactions" (1977) contains the first detailed discussion of the two-Higgs-doublet model.
In astronomy and cosmology, light dark matter are dark matter weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPS) candidates with masses less than 1 GeV. These particles are heavier than warm dark matter and hot dark matter, but are lighter than the traditional forms of cold dark matter. The Lee-Weinberg bound limits the mass of the favored dark matter candidate, WIMPs, that interact via the weak interaction to GeV. This bound arises as follows. The lower the mass of WIMPs is, the lower the annihilation cross section, which is of the order , where m is the WIMP mass and M the mass of the Z-boson. This means that low mass WIMPs, which would be abundantly produced in the early universe, freeze out much earlier and thus at a higher temperature, than higher mass WIMPs. This leads to a higher relic WIMP density. If the mass is lower than GeV the WIMP relic density would overclose the universe.
The 1964 PRL symmetry breaking papers were written by three teams who proposed related but different approaches to explain how mass could arise in local gauge theories. These three papers were written by
Kim Jihn-eui is a South Korean theoretical physicist. His research interests concentrate on particle physics and cosmology and has many contributions to the field, most notably the suggestion of the invisible axion.
Abraham Klein was an American theoretical physicist. Klein studied at Brooklyn College and at Harvard University, where he earned his master's degree in 1948 and doctorate in 1950 under Julian Schwinger. In 1955 he became associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a full professorship in 1958 and retired in 1994.
In theoretical physics, a mass generation mechanism is a theory that describes the origin of mass from the most fundamental laws of physics. Physicists have proposed a number of models that advocate different views of the origin of mass. The problem is complicated because the primary role of mass is to mediate gravitational interaction between bodies, and no theory of gravitational interaction reconciles with the currently popular Standard Model of particle physics.
This article is based on a talk given in April 1999 at the Conference on Cosmic Design of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C.Ibid. footnote 1.
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