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H. David Politzer

AKA Hugh David Politzer

Born: 31-Aug-1949
Birthplace: New York City

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Deep structure of matter

For research into the "strong force" -- the interaction binding quarks, antiquarks, and gluons to make hadrons -- H. David Politzer was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics. The honor was shared with David J. Gross and Frank Wilczek, who collaborated on their research and reached the same conclusion as Politzer. Their work described 'asymptotic freedom', the property of some gauge theories in which the interaction between particles becomes weaker at ever-decreasing distances, and stronger as the distance decreases.

Politzer also theorized the existence of charmonium, a flavorless meson constituted by the association of a quark and its own antiquark. He also offered scientific advice, doublechecked the complex equations that appeared on blackboards, and played a small role in Fat Man and Little Boy, the fictional film of the Manhattan Project, starring Paul Newman and John Cusack. "Teaching and acting aren't identical", he said, "but there are similarities. Neither is like being a human being."

    High School: Bronx High School of Science, Bronx, NY (1966)
    University: BS Physics, University of Michigan (1969)
    University: PhD Physics, Harvard University (1974)
    Teacher: Physics, California Institute of Technology (1975-79)
    Professor: Theoretical Physics, California Institute of Technology (1979-)

    Nobel Prize for Physics 2004 (with David J. Gross and Frank Wilczek)
    American Physical Society
    Harvard Society of Fellows
    Science Debate 2008

    Fat Man and Little Boy (20-Oct-1989) · Robert Serber

Author of books:
Asymptotic Freedom: An Approach to String Interactions (1974)

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