Robert Eugene Marshak (October 11, 1916 – December 23, 1992) was an American physicist dedicated to learning, research, and education.
Marshak received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1939. Along with his thesis advisor, Hans Bethe, he discovered many of the fusion aspects involved in star formation. This helped him on his work for the Manhattan Project, in Los Alamos, during World War II.
In 1957, he and George Sudarshan proposed a V-A ("vector" minus "axial vector") Lagrangian for weak interactions, which was later presented by Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann. It is known that Murray Gell-Mann had learnt the theory from George Sudarshan. Similarly Richard Feynman learnt about the theory from a discussion with Marshak in a conference. His biography below, is explicit about it "Perhaps Marshak's most significant scientific contribution was the proposal of the V-A Theory of Weak Interactions (the fourth force in nature) in collaboration with his student George Sudarshan. Unfortunately, the pair published the theory only in a conference proceedings for a meeting in Italy. Six months later, a different derivation of the same concept was published by Feynman and Gell-Mann in a mainstream scientific journal. Marshak had talked with Feynman about the general problem in California some time before. Though the V-A Concept was considered to be one of the most important contributions to theoretical physics, a Nobel Prize was never awarded for it." Sudarshan himself later commented in a TV interview in 2006 that Murray Gell-Mann got the idea from him, in an informal coffee time!
He was Chairman of the Department of Physics at the University of Rochester for fourteen years (1956 to 1970)
- Biography at the Virginia Tech Digital Library and Archives (accessed 5 November 2007).
- Biographical Memoir at the National Academy of Scientists (accessed 5 November 2007).
- Robert Eugene Marshak at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
Buell G. Gallagher
|President of City College of New York
1970 – 1979
Bernard W. Harleston
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