Heinz Pagels

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Heinz Rudolph Pagels (born February 19, 1939 in New York City , † July 23, 1988 in Aspen ) was an American physicist .


Pagels' parents grew up in Stade . The mother, who came from a Lutheran pastor family, married Heinz Pagels the Elder. Ä. and emigrated with him to the United States in the early 1920s (at the time of hyperinflation ) .

Heinz Rudolph Pagels studied up to his bachelor's degree at Princeton University . He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1965. From 1966 he was at Rockefeller University , which he left in 1983 as an associate professor . In 1967 he became a Sloan Research Fellow . He went to the New York Academy of Sciences as Executive Director . He was also president of the International League for Human Rights and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Pagels worked mainly in the areas of quantum chromodynamics , astro-particle physics and quantum field theory . Most recently, he also dealt with the theory of complex systems, the subject of his last book Dreams of Reason . He became known through popular science books. For The Cosmic Code. Quantum Physics as the Language of Nature received the 1982 Science Writing Award from the American Institute of Physics . In 1976 he became a Fellow of the American Physical Society .

Pagels died while climbing Pyramid Peak in Colorado on a Sunday excursion with his graduate student Seth Lloyd while at the Aspen Center for Physics . In Dreams of Reason he had reflected on the dangers of mountaineering. He left behind the theologian Elaine Pagels , whom he married in 1969.

The asteroid (3807) Pagels was named after him.

The Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award of the Committee on Human Rights of Scientists of the New York Academy of Sciences is named in his honor.

The figure of the mathematician and chaos theorist Ian Malcolm in the novel Jurassic Park by the American science fiction author Michael Crichton is inspired by Heinz Pagels.


  • Collective model of the hadrons. In: Physical Review D. Volume 14, 1976, p. 2747.
  • Nonperturbative approach to QCD. In: Physical Review D. Volume 15, 1977, p. 2991.
  • Quantum Chromodynamics. In: Physics Reports. Volume 36, 1978, pp. 137-276 (with William J. Marciano ).
  • Vacuum of the quantum Yang Mills theory and magnetostatics. In: Nuclear Physics B. Volume 143, 1978, p. 485 (together with E. Terry Tomboulis).
  • Dynamical chiral symmetry breaking in QCD. In: Physical Review D. Volume 19, 1979, p. 3080.
  • Models of dynamically broken gauge theories. In: Physical Review D. Volume 21, 1980, p. 2336.
  • Complexity as Thermodynamic Depth. In: Annals of Physics. Volume 188, 1988, pp. 186-213. (together with Seth Lloyd ).
  • Cosmic code. Quantum physics as the language of nature (“The cosmic code”). Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main 1983, ISBN 3-550-07723-8 .
  • The time before the time. The universe up to the Big Bang (“Perfect symmetry”). Ullstein, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-550-07819-6 .
  • The Dreams of Reason. The Computer and the Rise of the Sciences of Complexity . Bantam Books, New York 1989, ISBN 0-553-34710-1 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Message from Elaine Pagels to Goetz Oertel .
  2. ^ William Marciano, Heinz Pagels: Quantum chromodynamics . North-Holland Publ., Amsterdam 1978.
  3. see "Acknowledgments" in the book Jurassic Park