- Edward Witten
name = Edward Witten
image_size = 189px
birth_date = birth date and age|1951|8|26
birth_place = flagicon|USA
nationality = flagicon|USA American
Institute for Advanced Study
string theory, M-theory, quantum field theory
Fields Medal(1990) Crafoord Prize(2008)
Edward Witten (born
August 26, 1951) is an American theoretical physicistand professorat the Institute for Advanced Study. He is one of the world's leading researchers in superstring theory. He has made extensive contributions to theoretical physics, and in 1990 he was awarded the Fields Medalfor his influence on the development of mathematics. In 1995, he suggested the existence of M-theoryat a conference at the University of Southern California, and used M-theory to explain a number of previously observed dualities, sparking a flurry of new research in string theory called the second superstring revolution.
Birth and education
Edward Witten was born in
Baltimore, Maryland[ [http://www.jinfo.org/Fields_Mathematics.html Jewish Fields Medalists ] ] to a Jewishfamily, the son of Lorraine W. Witten and Louis Witten, a physicistspecializing in gravitation and general relativity. He received his bachelor's degreein history (with a minor in linguistics) from Brandeis University. Witten planned to become a political journalist, and published articles in " The New Republic" and " The Nation". He worked briefly for George McGovern's presidential campaign. Then, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madisonfor one semester as an economicsgraduate student before dropping out. He then returned to academia, enrolling in applied mathematicsat Princeton Universitybefore shifting departments and receiving a Ph.D.in physics in 1976 under David Gross, the 2004 Nobel laureatein Physics.
After completing his PhD, he worked at
Harvard Universityas a Junior Fellow and at Princeton as a professor. He was a Professor of Physics at Princeton Universityfrom 1980 to 1987. He also was briefly at Caltech for two years from 1999 to 2001. He is currently the Charles SimonyiProfessor of Mathematical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Studyin Princeton, New Jersey.
Research and achievements
Witten has made extensive contributions to
theoretical physics, in work that has spawned a large number of highly mathematical results. He has been active primarily in quantum field theoryand string theory, and in related areas of topologyand geometry. His many contributions include a simplified proof of the positive energy theoreminvolving spinorsin general relativity, his work relating supersymmetryand Morse theory, his introduction of topological quantum field theoryand his related work on mirror symmetryand supersymmetric gauge theories, and his conjecture of the existence of M-theory.
Witten was awarded the
Fields Medalby the International Mathematical Unionin 1990, becoming the first physicist to win the prize. Sir Michael Atiyahsaid of Witten, "Although he is definitely a physicist, his command of mathematics is rivaled by few mathematicians... Time and again he has surprised the mathematical community by a brilliant application of physical insight leading to new and deep mathematical theorems... he has made a profound impact on contemporary mathematics. In his hands physics is once again providing a rich source of inspiration and insight in mathematics." [cite book |last=Atiyah |first=Michael |title=Michael Atiyah: Collected Works: Volume 6 |year=2005 |publisher=Oxford Science Publications |isbn=978-0198530992 |pages=209,212] One such example of his impact on pure mathematics is his framework for understanding the Jones polynomialusing Chern-Simons theory. This had far reaching implications on low-dimensional topologyand led to quantum invariants such as the Witten-Reshetikhin-Turaev invariants.
He is currently working on the possible relations between
Gauge theoriesand Geometric Langlands program.
He is married to
Chiara Nappi, who is a professor of physics at Princeton University. His brother, Matt Witten, is a screenwriter and producer for several popular TV series including " L.A. Law" and "House".
Awards and honors
Witten has been honored with numerous awards, including a MacArthur Grant (1982), a
Fields Medal(1990), the National Medal of Science(2002), Pythagoras Award [http://www.premiopitagora.it/index.htm] (Croton, 2005), and the Crafoord Prize(2008). Pope Benedict XVIalso appointed Witten as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences(2006). He also appeared in the list of "TIME" magazine's 100 most influential people of 2004. In 2000, he was awarded the Nemmers Prize in Mathematics.
*Witten has the highest "h"-index of any living physicist;
*Witten was mentioned in a 1999 episode of the cartoon "
*Witten was mentioned in the 2002 "Angel" episode "Supersymmetry";
*Witten was mentioned in the comic Ex Machina.
*Witten was mentioned in the American television series
Seiberg–Witten gauge theory
* [http://www.sns.ias.edu/~witten/ Witten's web page at the Institute]
* [http://arxiv.org/find/hep-th/1/au:+Witten_E/0/1/0/all/0/1 Publications on ArXiv]
* [http://xstructure.inr.ac.ru/x-bin/search3.py?arxiv=hep-th&Title=&Author=Witten,%20Edward&view_type=themes%20tree&Key_sp=&Sort=Citation+number&time_p=-&skip=0 Witten theme tree on arxiv.org]
* [http://www.gotfuturama.com/Information/Capsules/1ACV11.txt Futurama episode information]
NAME= Witten, Edward
DATE OF BIRTH=
August 26, 1951
PLACE OF BIRTH=
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=
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