Einstein spent the last thirty years of his life searching for a unified field theory. During the 12th Einstein Lecture on June 29, 2012, Prof. Gross will discuss Einstein’s attempts at unification, ask why he went wrong, and wonder what might have happened if he had followed a slightly different route. Prof. Gross will then discuss where we stand today in realizing Einstein’s goals.
David Gross is the Frederick Gluck Professor of Theoretical Physics and Director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCSB. He received his Ph.D. in 1966 at UC Berkeley and was previously Thomas Jones Professor of Mathematical Physics at Princeton University. He has been a central figure in particle physics and string theory. His discovery, with his student Frank Wilczek, of asymptotic freedom—the primary feature of non-Abelian gauge theories—led Gross and Wilczek to the formulation of Quantum Chromodynamics, the theory of the strong nuclear force. This completed the Standard Model, which details the three basic forces of particle physics--the electromagnetic force, the weak force, and the strong force.
Gross was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics, with Politzer and Wilczek, for this discovery. He has also made seminal contributions to the theory of Superstrings, a burgeoning enterprise that brings gravity into the quantum framework. His awards include the Sakurai Prize, MacArthur Prize, Dirac Medal, Oscar Klein Medal, Harvey Prize, the EPS Particle Physics Prize, the Grande Medaille d’Or and the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004. He holds honorary degrees from the US, Britain, France, Israel, Brazil, Belgium and China. His membership includes the US National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Indian Academy of Science and the Chinese Academy of Science.