David Gross

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David Gross
David Gross LANL.jpg
Born David Jonathan Gross
(1941-02-19) February 19, 1941 (age 76)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Residence United States
Nationality American
Alma mater Hebrew University of Jerusalem
University of California, Berkeley
Known for Asymptotic freedom
Heterotic string
Gross–Neveu model
Spouse(s) Shulamith Toaff Gross (divorced; 2 children)
Jacquelyn Savani
Awards Dirac Medal (1988)
Harvey Prize (2000)
Nobel Prize in Physics (2004)
Scientific career
Fields Physics, String Theory
Institutions University of California, Santa Barbara
Harvard University
Princeton University
Doctoral advisor Geoffrey Chew
Doctoral students Frank Wilczek
Edward Witten
William E. Caswell
Rajesh Gopakumar
Nikita Nekrasov[1]
David Gross Clean Autograph.svg

David Jonathan Gross (/ɡrs/; born February 19, 1941) is an American theoretical physicist and string theorist. Along with Frank Wilczek and David Politzer, he was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of asymptotic freedom. David Gross is the Chancellor’s Chair Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and was formerly the KITP director and holder of their Frederick W. Gluck Chair in Theoretical Physics . He is also a faculty member in the UC Santa Barbara Physics Department and is currently affiliated with the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University in California. He is a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.[2]


Gross was born to a Jewish family in Washington, D.C., in February of 1941. His parents were Nora (Faine) and Bertram Myron Gross (1912–1997). Gross received his bachelor's degree and master's degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, in 1962. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1966, under the supervision of Geoffrey Chew.[3]

He was a Junior Fellow at Harvard University, and a Professor at Princeton University until 1997, when he began serving as Princeton's Thomas Jones Professor of Mathematical Physics Emeritus. He has received many honors, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1987, the Dirac Medal in 1988 and the Harvey Prize in 2000.[3]

He has been a central figure in particle physics and string theory. In 1973, Professor Gross, working with his first graduate student, Frank Wilczek, at Princeton University, discovered asymptotic freedom—the primary feature of non-Abelian gauge theories—led Gross and Wilczek to the formulation of quantum chromodynamics. , the theory of the strong nuclear force. Asymptotic freedom is a phenomenon where the nuclear force weakens at short distances, which explains why experiments at very high energy can be understood as if nuclear particles are made of non-interacting quarks. The flip side of asymptotic freedom is that the force between quarks grows stronger as one tries to separate them. Therefore, the closer quarks are to each other, the less the strong interaction (or color charge) is between them; when quarks are in extreme proximity, the nuclear force between them is so weak that they behave almost as free particles. This is the reason why the nucleus of an atom can never be broken into its quark constituents.

QCD completed the Standard Model, which details the three basic forces of particle physics--the electromagnetic force, the weak force, and the strong force. Gross was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics, with Politzer and Wilczek, for this discovery. He has also made seminal contributions to the theory of Superstrings, a burgeoning enterprise that brings gravity into the quantum framework. With collaborators he originated the "Heterotic String Theory," the prime candidate for a unified theory of all the forces of nature. He continues to do research in this field at the KITP, a world center of physics. 

Gross, with Jeffrey A. Harvey, Emil Martinec, and Ryan Rohm also formulated the theory of the heterotic string. The four were whimsically nicknamed the "Princeton String Quartet."[4]

In 2003, Gross was one of 22 Nobel Laureates who signed the Humanist Manifesto.[5][6][7]


David's first wife was Shulamith (Toaff). They have two children:

His second wife is Jacquelyn Savani. He has a stepdaughter, Miranda Savani, in Santa Barbara, California.[8] She was born in North Huntingdon, and is an assistant to the chancellor and executive chancellor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and media consultant for Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.[9]

Honors and awards[edit]

Membership in Academies and Societies[edit]

Fellow, American Physical Society, elected 1974

Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected 1985

Member, National Academy of Sciences, elected 1986

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, elected 1987

Fellow, European Academy of Sciences, elected 2004

Honorary Fellow of The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, 2006

Fellow, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, India, elected 2007

Member, American Philosophical Society, elected 2007

Foreign Fellow, Indian National Science Academy, elected 2007

Fellow, TWAS (the academy of sciences for the developing world), elected 2007

Member, Académie Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences, elected 2009

Foreign Member, Chinese Academy of Sciences, elected 2011

Foreign Member, Russian Academy of Sciences, elected 2016

Honorary Doctorates and Professorships[edit]

Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, University of Montpellier, 2000

Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 2001

Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, Sao Paulo University, Brazil, 2006

Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, Ohio State University, 2007

Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, University of the Philippines, Manila, 2008

Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, De La Salle University, Manila, 2008

Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, University of Cambridge, England, 2008

Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2008

Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, University of Cambodia, 2010

Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 2010

Honorary Doctoral Degree, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2016

Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina, 2016

Einstein Professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2005

Honorary Professor, Zhejiang University, China, 2005

Honorary Professor, Xiamen University, China, 2006

Honorary Professor, Xi'an University, China, 2006

Honorary Professor, ESPOL University, Ecuador, 2006

Honorary Professor, Lanzhou University, China, 2007

Honorary Professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, 2010

Honorary Professor, Xi'an Jiaotong University, China, 2012

Honorary Professor, Huaqiao University, Xiamen, China, 2012

Honorary Director, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, UCAS, Beijing, China, 2006-

Solvay Centenary Chair, Solvay Institute, Brussels, 2011

Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies, Singapore, 2013

Lorentz Professor, Leiden University, Netherlands, 2014

Named Lectures[edit]

Andrejewski Lectures, Berlin, 1993

Maryland Distinguished Lecturer, 1995

Celsius Lecture, Uppsala, Sweden, 1995

1994-5 Frontiers in Physics lectures, Texas A &M

Maria Mayer Memorial Lecture, San Diego 1995

Weizmann Lecturer, Weizmann Institute, 1996

Leigh Page Lectures, Yale, 1998

Marker Lectures, Penn State, 1998

Dirac Memorial Lecture, Cambridge University, 1999

Konopinski Lecture, Indiana State University, 1999

Dobson Lecture, University of California Berkeley, 2000

Oscar Klein Lecture, University of Stockholm, 2000

Raymond and Beverly Sackler Lecture, University of Copenhagen, 2000

Welsh Lecturer at the University of Toronto, 2001

Henry Primakoff Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania, 2002

Salmon Lecture, Trinity College, Dublin, 2003

David and Edith Harris Distinguished Lecture, MIT, 2003

Honorary Otis Lecture, City University of New York, 2004

Ta-You Wu Lecture, University of Michigan, 2004

Montroll Lecture, University of Rochester, 2005

Willibald Jentschke Lecture, Desy, Hamburg, 2005

Niels Bohr Lecture, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, 2005

Norman Kroll Memorial Lecture, University of California, San Diego, 2005

Daniel Ross Hamilton Memorial Lecture, Princeton University, 2005

Einstein Colloquium, Weizmann Institute, Israel, 2005

Einstein Lecture, Institute of Theoretical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, 2005

Nobel Laureate Lecture Series, Korea University, Seoul, Korea, 2005

Einstein Lecture, University of Kentucky, 2005

Madua Lecture, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, 2006

Homi Bhabha Lecture, Tata Institute, Mumbai, India, 2006

Rajiv Gandhi Science & Technology Lecture, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for

Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, India, 2006

Newton Lecture, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre, Bangalore, India, 2006

Raman Memorial Lecture, Calcutta, India, 2006

Raychaudhuri Memorial Lecture, Calcutta, India, 2006

Varnum Lectures, Princeton University, 2006

Heilborn Distinguished Lectures, Northwestern University, 2006

Bethe Lectures, Cornell University, 2006

Buhl Lecture, Carnegie Mellon University, 2007

Rothschild Lecture, Cambridge University, 2007

Brickwedde Lecture, Johns Hopkins University, 2007

Van Vleck Lecture, Minnesota, 2008

Solvay Distinguished Lecture, University of Brussels, 2008

Tsinghua Global Vision Lecture, Tsinghua University, China, 2008

Adelphus W. Smith Lecture, The University of Ohio, 2009

Sackler Lecture, Tel Aviv University, 2009

Putcha Venkateswarlu Memorial Lecture, Alabama Agricultural &

Mechanical University, 2009

Kaczmarczik Memorial Lecture, Drexel University, 2010

Anna McPherson Physics Lecture, McGill University, 2010

Katzenstein Distinguished Lecture, University of Connecticut, 2010

Dudley Wright Foundation Lecture, University of Geneva, 2010

Siemens Foundation Lecture, Munich, 2010

Inaugural Lecture, University of the Rio Grande, Natal, Brazil, 2011

Foundation Day Lecture, NISER, Bhubaneswar, India, 2011

Cherwell-Simon Lecture, Oxford University, 2011

Lee Lecture, Harvard University, 2012

Einstein Lecture, Berlin, 2012

Raymond and Beverly Sackler Lecture, Niels Bohr Institute, 2012

Prange Lecture, University of Maryland, 2013

Royal Danish Academy Nobel Laureate Talk, Copenhagen, 2013

Pacific Institute of Theoretical Physics Lecture, UBC, March 2014

Ehrenfest Colloquium Lecture, Leiden University, May 2014

Klosk Lecture, New York University, Sept. 2014

Della Pietra Lecture, Stony Brook University, 2015

Distinguished Lecturer, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 2015

Plenary Address, Indian Science Congress, Mysore, Jan. 2016

Arthur Williams Lecture, Brown University, 2016

Inaugural Lecture “Frontiers of Physics, University of Washington, 2016

Colloquium Paco Yndurain, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 2016

Inaugural Lecture OAW-ISTA “Insights”, Vienna, 2016

STAG Lecture, University of Southampton, England, 2016

Visiting Professor[edit]


Selected publications[edit]

Journal articles:

Technical reports:


  1. ^ David Jonathan Gross at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ "Foreign Members---Academic Divisions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences". english.casad.cas.cn. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  3. ^ a b "Autobiography". nobelprize.org. Retrieved 23 Apr 2013. 
  4. ^ String Theory, at 20, Explains It All (or Not). NY Times (2004-12-07)
  5. ^ "Notable Signers". Humanism and Its Aspirations. American Humanist Association. Retrieved October 2, 2012. 
  6. ^ Krauss, Lawrence Maxwell. Hiding in the Mirror: The Quest for Alternate Realities, from Plato to String Theory (by Way of Alice in Wonderland, Einstein, and the Twilight Zone). New York: Penguin, 2006. Print.
  7. ^ hri.org: "He also said that he is a humanist".
  8. ^ nobelprize.org
  9. ^ news.google.com

External links[edit]