Santa Barbara, California
Age: 31 at time of award
Published August 1, 1982
Frank Wilczek is a theoretical physicist.
His work with David Gross at Princeton concerned the change of fundamental couplings with energy. This work led to the discovery of asymptotic freedom and to the proposal and experimental verification of quantum chromodynamics. Asymptotic freedom makes it possible to understand the behavior of matter under extreme conditions, such as occurred in the earliest moments of the big bang. It also permits the construction of unified models of particle interactions, which have concrete predictive power. Wilczek has been a leading participant in all of these developments. A notable result of the cosmological work is a compelling explanation of the asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the present universe. A concept he discovered and developed, that of fractional quantum statistics or anyons, has been found to characterize the behavior of new states of matter, and is the focal point of much activity in condensed matter physics. Some of his recent work has clarified fundamental issues in the quantum theory of black holes.
Wilczek is the Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served previously as a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey.
Wilczek received a B.S. (1970) from the University of Chicago, and an M.A. (1972) and Ph.D. (1974) from Princeton University.
Frank Wilczek was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004.
Updated July 2015
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