MacArthur Fellows Program

John H. Schwarz

Physicist | Class of 1987

Pasadena, California
46 at time of award
Area of Focus
Published July 1, 1987

About John's Work

John Schwarz is a theoretical physicist whose research has contributed to the reconciliation of quantum mechanics and general relativity.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Schwarz and a collaborator, Michael Green, pushed the superstring theory beyond its alleged limits.  They found that the supposed obstacles that blocked all attempts to reconcile Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum mechanics were avoided when this expanded superstring theory was applied.  He has continued to explore new developments in superstring theory and has demonstrated that several theories once thought to be distinct are actually different manifestations of this single, underlying theory.


Schwarz is the Harold Brown Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology.  He is the co-author of Superstring Theory (2 vols. 1987), and of Special Relativity: From Einstein to Strings (2004).  He is the editor of Superstrings: The First Fifteen Years of Superstring Theory (1985) and has published numerous scientific papers in such journals as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

Schwarz received an A.B. (1962) from Harvard College and a Ph.D. (1966) from the University of California, Berkeley.

Recent News

John Schwarz received a 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics jointly with Michael B. Green. Since January 2015, he has been Harold Brown Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology.

Updated July 2015

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