David Jonathan Gross (//; born February 19, 1941) is an American theoretical physicist and string theorist. Along with Frank Wilczek and David Politzer, he was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of asymptotic freedom. Gross is the Chancellor’s Chair Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and was formerly the KITP director and holder of their Frederick W. Gluck Chair in Theoretical Physics . He is also a faculty member in the UC Santa Barbara Physics Department and is currently affiliated with the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University in California. He is a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Gross in October 2007
David Jonathan Gross
February 19, 1941
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Education||Hebrew University of Jerusalem (BSc, MSc)|
University of California, Berkeley (PhD)
|Known for||Asymptotic freedom|
|Spouse(s)||Shulamith Toaff Gross (divorced; 2 children)|
|Awards||Dirac Medal (1988)|
Harvey Prize (2000)
Nobel Prize in Physics (2004)
|Fields||Quantum field theory, string theory|
|Institutions||University of California, Santa Barbara|
|Doctoral advisor||Geoffrey Chew|
|Doctoral students||Frank Wilczek|
William E. Caswell
Gross was born to a Jewish family in Washington, D.C., in February 1941. His parents were Nora (Faine) and Bertram Myron Gross (1912–1997). Gross received his bachelor's degree and master's degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, in 1962. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1966, under the supervision of Geoffrey Chew.
He was a Junior Fellow at Harvard University, and a Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics at Princeton University until 1997, when he began serving as Princeton's Thomas Jones Professor of Mathematical Physics Emeritus. He has received many honors, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1987, the Dirac Medal in 1988 and the Harvey Prize in 2000.
He has been a central figure in particle physics and string theory. In 1973, Professor Gross, working with his first graduate student, Frank Wilczek, at Princeton University, discovered asymptotic freedom—the primary feature of non-Abelian gauge theories—led Gross and Wilczek to the formulation of quantum chromodynamics, the theory of the strong nuclear force. Asymptotic freedom is a phenomenon where the nuclear force weakens at short distances, which explains why experiments at very high energy can be understood as if nuclear particles are made of non-interacting quarks. The flip side of asymptotic freedom is that the force between quarks grows stronger as one tries to separate them. Therefore, the closer quarks are to each other, the less the strong interaction (or color charge) is between them; when quarks are in extreme proximity, the nuclear force between them is so weak that they behave almost as free particles. This is the reason why the nucleus of an atom can never be broken into its quark constituents.
QCD completed the Standard Model, which details the three basic forces of particle physics—the electromagnetic force, the weak force, and the strong force. Gross was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics, with Politzer and Wilczek, for this discovery. He has also made seminal contributions to the theory of Superstrings, a burgeoning enterprise that brings gravity into the quantum framework. With collaborators he originated the "Heterotic String Theory," the prime candidate for a unified theory of all the forces of nature. He continues to do research in this field at the KITP, a world center of physics.
In 2003, Gross was one of 22 Nobel Laureates who signed the Humanist Manifesto. Gross is an atheist.
In 2015, Gross signed the Mainau Declaration 2015 on Climate Change on the final day of the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. The declaration was signed by a total of 76 Nobel Laureates and handed to then-President of the French Republic, François Hollande, as part of the successful COP21 climate summit in Paris.
David's first wife was Shulamith (Toaff). They have two children. His second wife is Jacquelyn Savani. He has a stepdaughter in Santa Barbara, California. He has three brothers including, Samuel R. Gross, professor of law, and Theodore (Teddy) Gross, a playwright.
Honors and awards
- NSF Graduate Fellowship (1963–66)
- Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow (1970–74)
- J. J. Sakurai Prize of the American Physical Society (1986)
- MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Prize (1987)
- Dirac Medal, International Center for Theoretical Physics (1988)
- Oscar Klein Medal, Royal Swedish Academy (2000)
- Harvey Prize, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (2000)
- High Energy and Particle Physics Prize, European Physical Society (2003)
- Grande Médaille d'Or de l'Académie des sciences, France (2004)
- Nobel Prize in Physics (2004)
- Recipient Golden Plate Award, Academy of Achievement (2005)
- San Carlos Boromero Award, University of San Carlos, Philippines (2008)
- Honorary Doctorate in Science, the University of Cambodia (2010)
- Richard E. Prange Prize, University of Maryland (2013)
- Medal of Honor, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna, Russia (2016)
- Gross, David; Wilczek, Frank (1973). "Ultraviolet Behavior of Non-Abelian Gauge Theories". Physical Review Letters. 30 (26): 1343–1346. Bibcode:1973PhRvL..30.1343G. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.30.1343.
- D. J. Gross and F. Wilczek, “Asymptotically Free Gauge Theories. I”, Phys. Rev. D8 3633 (1973)
- Wilczek, F. and D. J. Gross. "Asymptotically Free Gauge Theories. I," National Accelerator Laboratory, Princeton University, United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission), (July 1973).
- Gross, D. J. and S. B. Treiman. "Hadronic Form Factors in Asymptotically Free Field Theories," Princeton University, United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission), (1974).
- Callan, C. G. Jr., Dashen, R. and D. J. Gross. "Instantons and Massless Fermions in Two Dimensions," Princeton University, United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Energy Research and Development Administration), (May 1977).
- Gross, D. J. "Some New/Old Approaches to QCD," Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, United States Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, (November 1992).
- David Jonathan Gross at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- "Foreign Members---Academic Divisions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences". english.casad.cas.cn. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- "Autobiography". nobelprize.org. Retrieved 23 Apr 2013.
- String Theory, at 20, Explains It All (or Not). NY Times (2004-12-07)
- "Notable Signers". Humanism and Its Aspirations. American Humanist Association. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- Krauss, Lawrence Maxwell. Hiding in the Mirror: The Quest for Alternate Realities, from Plato to String Theory (by Way of Alice in Wonderland, Einstein, and the Twilight Zone). New York: Penguin, 2006. Print.
- hri.org: "He also said that he is a humanist".
- "Mainau Declaration". www.mainaudeclaration.org. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
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