Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sign in

2004 Nobel Colloquium

10/06/2004 3:45 PM 26-100
Frank Wilczek, Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics, MIT

Description: There's no magic formula for winning the Nobel Prize. But you can't find a more classic model than the career of Frank Wilczek, Feshbach Professor of Physics and 2004 Nobel laureate.

Wilczek was a 21 year-old graduate student at Princeton when he made his breakthrough discovery. High energy physics was baffled by the "strong force," which binds the quarks that make up protons and neutrons. Wilczek (with two colleagues who share the prize) was brave enough to entertain a really startling idea: the strong force works in just the opposite way from the more familiar forces in nature _ the closer together the particles are, the weaker the force becomes, an idea Wilczek captured in the phrase "asymptotic freedom." This profound insight into the fundamental forces of nature has astonishing explanatory power, not only for physics but also for cosmology. We now understand the early universe _ the first few minutes of existence _ better than we understand the universe around us today.

Far from resting on his Nobel laurels, Wilczek is still working at the most puzzling frontiers of his science _ for example, struggling to explain The Origin of Mass and the Feebleness of Gravity, the subject of his previous Physics Colloquium.

Wilczek Video Lectures on MIT World
MIT News Office on 2004 Nobel in Physics

About the Speaker(s): Frank Wilczek is known, among other things, for the discovery of asymptotic freedom, the development of quantum chromodynamics, the invention of axions, and the discovery and exploitation of new forms of quantum statistics (anyons). Wilczek was 21 years old and a graduate student at Princeton University when he and David Gross defined the properties of gluons, which hold atomic nuclei together. In October 2004 Wilczek shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Gross and H. David Politzer for this work. Wilczek is a co-recipient of the 2005 King Faisal International Prize for Science. Among other awards, Wilczek has received the 2003 High Energy and Particle Physics Prize of the European Physical Society; the 2003 Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society; and the 2002 Lorentz Medal of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Wilczek has taught at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He contributes regularly to Physics Today and Nature.

Host(s): School of Science, Department of Physics

Tape #: T19032

Comments (0)

It looks like no one has posted a comment yet. You can be the first!

You need to log in, in order to post comments.

MIT World — special events and lectures

MIT World — special events and lectures

Category: Events | Updated 1 month ago

December 12, 2011 19:36
All Rights Reserved (What is this?)
Additional Files

2712 times

More from MIT World — special events and lectures

A.B.L.E. Tech: Achieving Better Life Experiences for People with Injury, Disability and Aging Challenges Through 21st Century Technologies

A.B.L.E. Tech: Achieving Better Lif...

Added almost 4 years ago | 01:32:00 | 5851 views

Finance in Action

Finance in Action

Added almost 4 years ago | 01:21:00 | 4126 views

Vietnam Remembered

Vietnam Remembered

Added almost 4 years ago | 01:57:00 | 2424 views

Airline Security: Where are We?

Airline Security: Where are We?

Added almost 4 years ago | 01:07:00 | 2655 views

From Complex Science to Contentious Policy: Lessons from Global Warming & Generation Next: What Do They Really Need to Know and How Do We Help Them Learn It?

From Complex Science to Contentious...

Added almost 4 years ago | 01:09:00 | 2032 views

Reminiscences of McKinley, the Matterhorn and Everest

Reminiscences of McKinley, the Matt...

Added almost 4 years ago | 01:36:00 | 3259 views