History

Theoretical Particle Physics in Berkeley has a long history of achievements. Important work has been done by faculty members. Many leaders in the field were trained here as graduate students or postdocs. Here we list some of them. (The list is by no means comprehensive.)

J. Robert Oppenheimer

  • He recognized the electron self-energy problem in 1929, and pointed out that Dirac equation predicts anti-matter in 1931. Together with Serber, he showed that there is an upper mass limit for stability of neutron stars in 1938, and that a collapsing neutron star will form a black hole together with Snyder in 1939. He is also known for Born-Oppenheimer approximation in molecular physics and his leadership in Manhattan project. He was on the Berkeley faculty. He led a strong school in Theoretical Physics in 30's and 40's, which trained students and NRC fellows including Fritz Kalckar, George Volkoff, Sid Dancoff, Phil Morrison, Joe Keller, Willis Lamb, Bernard Peters, Bill Rarita. His biographical account by Hans Bethe can be found here.
Gian Carlo Wick
  • 1967 Dannie Heineman Prize Winner. He contributed to the foundation of quantum field theory, such as the Wick's theorem, Wick rotation, and Jacob-Wick helicity basis. He was on the Berkeley faculty.
Steven Weinberg
  • 1979 Nobel Laureate for his contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including, inter alia, the prediction of the weak neutral current. He was on the Berkeley faculty. He wrote his Nobel-paper "Theory of Leptons" in 1967, in which he proposed the SU(2) x U(1) gauge theory of electroweak interaction with Higgs mechanism. It laid the foundation of the Standard Model of particle physics, established ca. 1978. Currently professor at University of Texas. Also 1977 Dannie Heineman Prize Winner.
Sheldon Glashow
  • 1979 Nobel Laureate for his contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including, inter alia, the prediction of the weak neutral current. He was on the Berkeley faculty. He proposed the SU(2) x U(1) gauge group as the theory of electroweak interaction. It laid the foundation of the Standard Model of particle physics, established ca. 1978. Currently professor at Boston University.
David Gross
  • 2004 Nobel Laureate for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction, together with David Politzer and Frank Wilczek. He was a Berkeley graduate student. Also 1988 Dirac Medal Winner for the discovery of asymptotic freedom as well as the heterotic string theory with Harvey, Martinec, and Rohm, and 1986 Sakurai Prize Winner together with David Politzer and Frank Wilczek.
Bruno Zumino
  • 1987 Dirac Medal Winner who has been one of the leading experts in field theory. Together with Prof. Julius Wess, he has made fundamental contributions to the study of chiral anomalies in gauge theories with fermions. Also in collaboration with Prof. Wess, he proposed the first renormalizable Lagrangian field theories to realize supersymmetry in 4-dimensional space-time. With Prof. Stanley Deser he constructed one of the first supergravity theories in four dimensions. In addition to this important early work, he has been a leader in the application of modern geometrical ideas in field theory. In particular he has illuminated the role of Kähler geometry in extended supergravities and, more generally, the value of differential geometric methods in the study of anomalies. He was on the Berkeley faculty. Also, 1988 Dannie Heineman Prize Winner, 1989 Max Planck Medal Winner, and 1999 Gian Carlo Wick Prize Winner.
John H. Schwarz
  • 2012 Breakthrough Prize Winner for opening new perspectives on quantum gravity and the unification of forces and 1989 Dirac Medal Winner for his basic contributions to the development of superstring theory. Most significant was his discovery, in collaboration with Prof. Green, that chiral gauge anomalies are absent for a class of ten dimensional superstringtheories. This provided a strong indication that superstring theory with a specific gauge symmetry may provide a consistent unified quantum theory of the fundamental forces including gravity. It led to an explosion of interest in string theory which has already spurred remarkable advances both in mathematical physics and in pure mathematics. He was a graduate student in Berkeley. Also 2002 Dannie Heineman Prize Winners.
Stanley Mandelstam
  • 1991 Dirac Medal Winner in recognition of his contributions to the development of theoretical physics. His representation of the analytic properties of scattering amplitudes in the form of double dispersion relations (Mandelstam representation) is basic to the modern understanding of relativistic particle scattering and his seminal work on the quantization of string theories, exploiting their conformal properties, led to a more profound understanding of this subject. Mandelstam was among the first to apply path integral quantization methods to string theory. This work was generalized and extended by many others in the following years and now forms an integral part of the modern formulations. He was on the Berkeley faculty. Also 1992 Dannie Heineman Prize Winner.
Mary K. Gaillard
  • 1993 Sakurai Prize Winner. She successfully predicted the charm quark mass together with Ben Lee before the discovery of J/ψ in 1974. She is an emeritus member of our group.
Leonard Susskind
  • 1998 Sakurai Prize Winner. He is a co-inventor of the technicolor theory, holographic principle, and black hole complementarity. He was a postdoc in Berkeley.
Joseph Polchinski Lisa Randall
  • 2003 Tommasoni Prize Winner for opening important new directions in particle theory in collaboration with Raman Sundrum. She was a postdoc in Berkeley.
Nima Arkani-Hamed
  • 2012 Breakthrough Prize Winner for original approaches to outstanding problems in particle physics, including the proposal of large extra dimensions, new theories for the Higgs boson, novel realizations of supersymmetry, theories for dark matter, and the exploration of new mathematical structures in gauge theory scattering amplitudes. He was a graduate student in Berkeley. Also 2003 Gribov Medal Prize Winner.
Hitoshi Murayama

Other examples include:

Former Berkeley postdocs who became leaders in the field

Miguel Virasoro (ICTP, Trieste), Martin Einhorn (Santa Barbara), Barton Zwiebach (MIT), Fabio Zwirner (Padua), Lawrence Hall (Berkeley), Raman Sundrum (Maryland), John March-Russell (Oxford), Riccardo Rattazzi (Lausanne), Markus Luty (Davis), Yaron Oz (Tel Aviv), Jan de Boer (Amsterdam), Kentaro Hori (IPMU, Tokyo), John Terning (Davis), Csaba Csáki (Cornell), Takeo Moroi (Tokyo), Jonathan Feng (Irvine), Yasunori Nomura (Berkeley), Mukund Rangamani (Davis), Veronika Hubeny (Davis), Matthew Schwartz (Harvard), Patrick Fox (Fermilab), Jesse Thaler (MIT).

Former Berkeley students who became leaders in the field

Michio Kaku (CUNY), Chris Quigg (Fermilab), Bob Cahn (LBNL), Dan Friedan (Rutgers), Steve Sharpe (Washington), Zvi Bern (UCLA), Nathan Berkovits (São Paulo), Washington Taylor (MIT), Neal Weiner (NYU), Alex Friedland (SLAC), Aaron Pierce (Michigan), Roni Harnik (Fermilab), David Poland (Yale).