Wilczek in 2007
Frank Anthony Wilczek
May 15, 1951
|Education||University of Chicago (B.S.),|
Princeton University (M.A., Ph.D.)
|Known for||Asymptotic freedom|
|Children||Amity and Mira|
|Awards||MacArthur Fellowship (1982)|
Sakurai Prize (1986)
Dirac Medal (1994)
Lorentz Medal (2002)
Lilienfeld Prize (2003)
Nobel Prize in Physics (2004)
King Faisal Prize (2005)
T. D. Lee Institute and Wilczek Quantum Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Arizona State University
|Thesis||Non-abelian gauge theories and asymptotic freedom (1974)|
|Doctoral advisor||David Gross|
Frank Anthony Wilczek (//; born May 15, 1951) is an American theoretical physicist, mathematician and a Nobel laureate. He is currently the Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Founding Director of T. D. Lee Institute and Chief Scientist at the Wilczek Quantum Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), Distinguished Professor at Arizona State University (ASU) and full Professor at Stockholm University.
Wilczek, along with David Gross and H. David Politzer, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004 "for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction." He is on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Future of Life Institute.
Born in Mineola, New York, of Polish and Italian origin, Wilczek was educated in the public schools of Queens, attending Martin Van Buren High School. It was around this time Wilczek's parents realized that he was exceptional—in part as a result of Frank Wilczek having been administered an IQ test. He was raised Catholic but later "lost faith in conventional religion". He has been described as an agnostic but tweeted in 2013 that "pantheist" is "closer to the mark".
He received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and membership in Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Chicago in 1970, a Master of Arts in Mathematics at Princeton University, 1972, and a Ph.D. in physics at Princeton University in 1974. In 1982, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. Wilczek holds the Herman Feshbach Professorship of Physics at MIT Center for Theoretical Physics. He worked at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara and was also a visiting professor at NORDITA.
Wilczek became a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000. He was awarded the Lorentz Medal in 2002. Wilczek won the Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society in 2003. In the same year he was awarded the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics Commemorative Medal from Charles University in Prague. He was the co-recipient of the 2003 High Energy and Particle Physics Prize of the European Physical Society. The Nobel Prize in Physics 2004 was awarded jointly to David J. Gross, H. David Politzer and Frank Wilczek "for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction.” Wilczek was also the co-recipient of the 2005 King Faisal International Prize for Science. In that same year, he received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement. On January 25, 2013, Wilczek received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Science and Technology at Uppsala University, Sweden.
He currently serves on the board for Society for Science & the Public and is a co-founding member of the Kosciuszko Foundation of the Collegium of Eminent Scientists of Polish Origin and Ancestry.
In 2014, Wilczek penned a letter, along with Stephen Hawking and two other scholars, warning that "Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks." He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Future of Life Institute, an organization that works to mitigate existential risks facing humanity, particularly existential risk from advanced artificial intelligence. He is also a supporter of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an organisation which advocates for democratic reform in the United Nations, and the creation of a more accountable international political system.
In 1973, while a graduate student working with David Gross at Princeton University, Wilczek (together with Gross) discovered asymptotic freedom, which holds that the closer quarks are to each other, the less the strong interaction (or color charge) between them; when quarks are in extreme proximity, the nuclear force between them is so weak that they behave almost as free particles. The theory, which was independently discovered by H. David Politzer, was important for the development of quantum chromodynamics.
Wilczek has helped reveal and develop axions, anyons, asymptotic freedom, the color superconducting phases of quark matter, and other aspects of quantum field theory. He has worked on condensed matter physics, astrophysics, and particle physics.
In 2012 he proposed the idea of a time crystal. In 2018, several research teams reported the existence of time crystals. In 2018 he and Qing-Dong Jiang calculated that the so-called "quantum atmosphere" of materials should theoretically be capable of being probed using existing technology such as diamond probes with nitrogen-vacancy centers.
"We discovered experimentally that discrete time crystals not only exist, but that this phase is also remarkably robust." Mikhail Lukin, Harvard University
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