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Frank Wilczek

Frank Wilczek

2004 Nobel Prize in Physics
Intro
A famous American theoretical physicist, mathematician and Nobel laureate. In 2004, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his achievements in quark particle theory (strong action) theory. He is currently Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Education and Work Experience
  • 1974, Ph.D. in Physics, Princeton University
  • 1989-2000, Professor, The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University
  • 2000-Present, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Honors and Awards
    • 1900, Member, the United States National Academy of Sciences
    • 1993, Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    • 1994, Dirac Medal
    • 2004, Nobel Prize in Physics
Major Academic Achievements

Wilczek and Gross used particle accelerators to study quarks and the force that acts on them. The two scientists—and Politzer working independently—observed that quarks were so tightly bound together that they could not be separated as individual particles but that the closer quarks approached one another, the weaker the strong force became. When quarks were brought very close together, the force was so weak that the quarks acted almost as if they were free particles not bound together by any force. When the distance between two quarks increased, however, the force became greater—an effect analogous to the stretching of a rubber band. The discovery of this phenomenon, known as asymptotic freedom, led to a completely new physical theory, quantum chromodynamics (QCD), to describe the strong force. QCD put the finishing touches on the standard model of particle physics, which describes the fundamental particles in nature and how they interact with one another.