George Chapline, Jr.

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George Frederick Chapline, Jr.
Chapline with Richard Feynman, 1963
Born (1942-05-06) May 6, 1942 (age 75)
Teaneck, New Jersey, U.S.
Nationality United States
Fields Theoretical Physics
Institutions Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Alma mater Caltech
Known for Quantum mechanics
Notable awards E. O. Lawrence Award, 1982

George Frederick Chapline, Jr. (born May 6, 1942) is an American theoretical physicist, based at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His most recent interests have mainly been in quantum information theory, condensed matter, and quantum gravity. In 2003 he received the Computing Anticipatory Systems award for a new interpretation of quantum mechanics based on the similarity of quantum mechanics and Helmholtz machines. He was awarded the E. O. Lawrence Award in 1982 by the United States Department of Energy[1] for leading the team that first demonstrated a working X-ray laser (see photo). In the field of condensed matter physics Chapline is best known as the originator of the concept of a gossamer metal; i.e. a metal where the density of states at the Fermi surface is depressed because of pairing correlations. Both the actinides and high Tc superconductors are examples of gossamer metals.[clarification needed][citation needed]

Chapline is known for his work with Nick S. Manton[2] on finding the classical equations which unify supergravity and Yang–Mills gauge theories. These equations play an important role in superstring theory. Chapline was also the first person to point out that the anomaly cancellation condition for superstrings in 10 dimensions could be satisfied by E8 x E8, and the first person to suggest that the 24-dimensional Leech lattice might play a central role in a theory unifying gravity and elementary particle physics.[3]

Chapline (right) and the world's first X-ray laser

Chapline is perhaps best known for his research on black holes, proposing that they "do not exist."[4] Drawing upon quantum mechanical insights of himself and Pawel Mazur from the early 1900s, he proposed that objects currently thought to be black holes are actually dark-energy stars.[5]

This idea incorporates the 1980 proposal by Robert B. Laughlin and Chapline that the surface of a dark energy star actually represents a quantum critical transition of a superfluid vacuum. The Chapline–Laughlin theory predicts that space-times with a large vacuum energy are unstable to the formation of dark energy stars; in the context of the early universe, this provides a natural explanation for both dark matter and the metric fluctuations which led to the formation of galaxies.[6] A remarkable astrophysical prediction of the Chapline–Laughlin theory is that dark energy stars should be prolific sources of positrons because nucleons decay when they encounter the surface of a dark energy star,[7] which may explain the strong positron annihilation radiation observed coming from the central region of our galaxy.[8]

Chapline's interest in quantum gravity dates from the time when as a teenager he wrote Richard Feynman a letter about the problem of quantum propagation in a gravitational field. Because quantum mechanics is intrinsically non-local while the equivalence principle is local there is a tension between quantum mechanics and general relativity that has not yet been resolved. As a result of his letter Feynman invited the 15-year-old Chapline to have lunch at Caltech. Chapline and Feynman talked often about physics in the following years, particularly when he was a graduate student at Caltech (see photo). Feynman reportedly helped Chapline get his first job, as an assistant professor at UC Santa Cruz.[citation needed]

Chapline earned a B.A. in mathematics at UCLA in 1961. He was a member of the 1959 UCLA Putnam Competition team which scored 3rd in the nation. He earned a PhD in physics from Caltech in 1967.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1980s Laureates: George F. Chapline, Jr., 1982". The Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award. 1982. Archived from the original on 2008-10-04. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  2. ^ G. F. Chapline and N. S. Manton, "Unification of Yang-Mills theory and supergravity in ten dimensions", Phys. Lett. 1208:105 (1983) 105.
  3. ^ G. Chapline, "Unification of Gravity and Elementary Particle Interactions in 26 Dimensions", Phys. Lett. 158B (1985) 393.
  4. ^ Ball, Philip (2005). "Black holes 'do not exist'". Nature. doi:10.1038/news050328-8. Archived from the original on September 6, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  5. ^ Chapline, G. (December 2004). "Dark Energy Stars". Proceedings of the Texas Conference on Relativistic Astrophysics: 101. arXiv:astro-ph/0503200Freely accessible. Bibcode:2005tsra.conf..101C. 
  6. ^ Zeeya, Merali (March 2006). "Three cosmic enigmas, one audacious answer". New Scientist (2542): 8. 
  7. ^ Barbieri, J.; Chapline, G. (2004). "Have Nucleon decays been seen?". Physics Letters B. 590: 12. Bibcode:2004PhLB..590....8B. doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2004.03.054. 
  8. ^ See YouTube video: .
  9. ^


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