Tom Kibble

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Kibble, Guralnik , Hagen , Englert and Brout at the 2010 Sakurai Prize

Sir Thomas Walter Bannerman Kibble CBE ( Tom Kibble , mostly cited as TWB Kibble ; born December 23, 1932 in Madras , †  June 2, 2016 in London ) was a British theoretical physicist .


TWB Kibble was born as the son of the mathematician Walter Frederick Kibble and the missionary Janet Cowan Watson Bannerman (1893-1976) in what was then British India . He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and his Master of Science degree in Physics from the University of Edinburgh . In 1958 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh. PhD in Mathematical Physics . He then taught at the California Institute of Technology from 1958 to 1959 and as a lecturer at Imperial College London from 1959 to 1970.

From 1970 he was Professor and Senior Researcher at the Blackett Laboratory of Imperial College London, where he was Head of the Physics Faculty in the 1980s and then Professor emeritus . He became known through his work with Carl R. Hagen and Gerald Guralnik on spontaneous symmetry breaking as a method of mass generation of vector bosons in Yang Mills theories , an important basis of the Standard Model . Peter Higgs , François Englert and Robert Brout , later known as the Higgs mechanism , also succeeded in doing this independently . He also dealt with structure formation through topological defects in cosmology such as cosmic strings . He and Wojciech Zurek created the Kibble-Zurek mechanism in cosmology and solid state physics.

In 1961 he and Dennis Sciama developed a gauge theory of gravitation with the Poincaré group as the gauge group, which includes the Einstein-Cartan theory .


Kibble had been a Fellow of the Royal Society since 1980 . In 1981 he received the Hughes Medal of the Royal Society with Higgs, and in 1984 he received the Rutherford Medal of the Institute of Physics (IOP) with Higgs . In 1993 he received the Guthrie Medal . In 1998 he became Commander of the British Empire . In 2010 he received the Sakurai Prize with Guralnik, Hagen, Higgs, Englert, Brout . In 2012 he received the Royal Medal of the Royal Society. In 2013 he was awarded the Dirac Medal (ICTP) together with James Peebles and Martin Rees . In 2014, Kibble was awarded the Albert Einstein Medal and knighted by Queen Elisabeth II . For 2016 he was posthumously awarded the Isaac Newton Medal of the IOP.


  • Classical Mechanics. McGraw Hill 1966, 3rd edition, Longman 1985


Web links

Commons : TWB Kibble  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Tom Kibble, UK physicist who worked on Higgs boson dies, says university
  2. Guralnik, Hagen, Kibble: Global conservation laws and massless particles. In: Physical Review Letters. Volume 13, 1964, p. 585
  3. Higgs: Broken symmetries, massless particles and gauge fields. In: Physics Letters. Volume 12, 1964, p. 132, Broken symmetries and the masses of gauge bosons. In: Physical Review Letters. Volume 13, 1964, p. 508
  4. ^ Englert, Brout: Broken symmetry and the mass of gauge vector mesons. In: Physical Review Letters. Volume 13, 1964, p. 321