David Gross

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David Gross and his wife
David Gross during construction work at KITP

David Jonathan Gross (born February 19, 1941 in Washington, DC , USA ) is an American physicist and recipient of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics .


Gross' father, Bertram Myron Gross , a son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe , was a Senate employee who helped draft the Employment Act in 1946. Gross grew up first in a suburb of Washington and then in Jerusalem, where his father taught public administration at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on behalf of the US government in the mid-1950s . David Gross studied mathematics and physics there and received his bachelor's degree in 1962 . He received his PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1966 under Geoffrey Chew on the then flourishing S-matrix theory of elementary particle physics. He was then from 1966 to 1969 Junior Fellow at Harvard University , 1969 visiting scientist at CERN and from 1969 Assistant Professor , Associate Professor and from 1987 Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics at Princeton University , where he was until 1996. From 1996 he was director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara , where he is currently Frederick W. Gluck Professor of Theoretical Physics .

He was married twice and has two children from his first marriage. His daughter, Ariela Gross, is a law professor at the University of Southern California. He has been married to Jacquelyn Savani since 2001.


In 1973 he discovered with his first doctoral Frank Wilczek , the asymptotic freedom , which holds that the strong interaction between quarks is, the weaker the closer they are to each other. If two quarks are extremely close together, the interaction is so weak that they behave almost like free particles. The derivation of this property, which was done independently of David Politzer , was an important step in the development of quantum chromodynamics (QCD). From the mid-1970s he worked with Roger Dashen and Curtis Callan on instantons in QCD and their role in the confinement mechanism of quarks. Together with André Neveu , he developed the Gross-Neveu model in 1974, a simple model of interacting fermions with unitary symmetry in one spatial dimension, on which phenomena such as dynamic mass generation can be studied.

In the 1980s his interest shifted to string theory , which he had already dealt with in the late 1960s and early 1970s in collaboration with John Schwarz and André Neveu. In 1984 Gross developed the heterotic string theory , one of five superstring theories, together with Jeff Harvey , Emil Martinec and Ryan Rohm . He also dealt with the high energy behavior of strings and the use of strings in QCD. In 1988, with Periwal, he proved the divergence of the perturbation series of bosonic string theory.

Edward Witten and Frank Wilczek are among his students .

Honourings and prices

In 2004, Gross received the Nobel Prize in Physics together with Frank Wilczek and David Politzer “ for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of strong interaction ”.

He was a Sloan Research Fellow from 1970 to 1974 and a MacArthur Fellow in 1987 . He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1986), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1987), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1985) and the American Philosophical Society (2007) and a Fellow of the American Physical Society . In 1986 he received the Sakurai Prize of the American Physical Society, in 1988 the Dirac Medal (ICTP) and in 2000 the Oskar Klein Medal of the University of Gothenburg and the Harvey Prize of the Technion in Haifa. In 2003 he received the European Physical Society's prize in elementary particle physics and in 2004 the Grande médaille de l'Académie des sciences . In 2000 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Montpellier and in 2001 from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem .


Web links

Commons : David Gross  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. David Gross in the Notable Names Database (English)
  2. ^ Entry in American Men and Women of Science , Thomson Gale 2004
  3. ^ Gross and Wilczek: Asymptotically free gauge theories . Part 1 in: Physical Review D . Volume 8, 1973, pp. 3633-3652; Part 2: Physical Review D . Volume 9, 1974, pp. 980-993; Ultraviolet behavior of nonabelian gauge theories . In: Physical Review Letters . Volume 30, 1973, p. 1343; Gross: Asymptotic Freedom . In: Physics Today . January 1987
  4. ^ Gross, Harvey, Martinec and Rohm: Heterotic string theory, 1,2 . In: Nuclear Physics B . Volume 256, 1985, pp. 253-284, Volume 267, 1986, pp. 75-124, Heterotic string . In: Physical Review Letters . Volume 54, 1985, p. 502