May 30, 1937 |
Moscow, Russian SFSR
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
|Doctoral advisor||Richard Feynman|
|Notable awards||MacArthur Fellowship 1981, NAS 1996|
George Zweig (born on May 30, 1937) is an American physicist born in Moscow, Russia into a Jewish family. He was originally trained as a particle physicist under Richard Feynman and later turned his attention to neurobiology. He spent a number of years as a Research Scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and MIT, but as of 2004, has gone on to work in the financial services industry.
A 1959 graduate of the University of Michigan, Zweig proposed the existence of quarks while a graduate student in physics at the California Institute of Technology in 1964 (independently of Murray Gell-Mann). Zweig dubbed them "aces" after the four playing cards, because he speculated there were four of them. The introduction of quarks provided a cornerstone for particle physics.
Like Gell-Mann, he realized that several important properties of particles such as baryons (e.g., protons and neutrons) could be explained by treating them as triplets of other constituent particles (which he called aces and Gell-Mann called quarks), with fractional baryon number and electric charge. Unlike Gell-Mann, Zweig was partly led to his picture of the quark model by the peculiarly attenuated decays of the φ meson to ρ π, a feature codified by what is now known as the OZI Rule, the "Z" in which stands for "Zweig". In subsequent technical terminology, ultimately Gell-Mann's quarks were to amount to "current quarks", while Zweig's to "constituent quarks".
As pointed out by astrophysicist John Gribbin, Gell-Mann deservedly received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1969, for his overall contributions and discoveries concerning the classification of elementary particles and their interactions; at that time, quark theory had not become fully accepted, and was not specifically mentioned. In later years, when quark theory became established as the standard model of particle physics, the Nobel committee presumably felt they couldn't recognize Zweig as the scientist who first spelled out the theory's implications in detail and suggested that they might be real, without including Gell-Mann again. Nevertheless, in 1977 Richard Feynman nominated both Gell-Mann and Zweig for the Nobel prize, presumed to be his only nomination for such. Whatever the reason, despite Zweig's contributions to a theory central to modern physics, he has not yet been awarded a Nobel prize.
Zweig later turned to hearing research and neurobiology, and studied the transduction of sound into nerve impulses in the cochlea of the human ear. In 1975, while studying the ear, he discovered the continuous wavelet transform. Zweig now[when?] works for Renaissance Technologies on Long Island, New York.
Awards and honors 
- "George Zweig". Mathematics Genealogy Project (North Dakota State University). Retrieved 2010-03-18.
- G. Zweig (1964), "An SU(3) model for strong interaction symmetry and its breaking", In *Lichtenberg, D. B. ( Ed.), Rosen, S. P. ( Ed.): Developments In The Quark Theory Of Hadrons, Vol. 1*, 22-101 and CERN Geneva - TH. 401 (REC.JAN. 64) 24p.
- G. Zweig (1964), "An SU(3) model for strong interaction symmetry and its breaking II", Published in 'Developments in the Quark Theory of Hadrons'. Volume 1. Edited by D. Lichtenberg and S. Rosen. Nonantum, Mass., Hadronic Press, 1980. pp. 22-101.
- G. Zweig (1980), "Origins Of The Quark Model", CALT-68-805
- G.Zweig (2010), "Memories of Murray and the Quark Model", International Journal of Modern Physics A 25: 3863, arXiv:1007.0494, Bibcode:2010IJMPA..25.3863Z, doi:10.1142/S0217751X10050494
- J. Gribbin (1 May 1996), Schrödinger's Kittens and the Search For Reality, Phoenix, p. ix, 261 p. : ill. ; 29 cm., ISBN 978-1-85799-402-5