H. David Politzer, (AB Michigan, 1969)

http://theory.caltech.edu/~politzer/

Hugh David Politzer (born 31 August 1949) was born in New York City. He graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1966, received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1969, and his Ph.D. in 1974 from Harvard University where his doctoral thesis was directed by Sidney Coleman.  In his first published article, which appeared in 1973, Politzer described the phenomenon of asymptotic freedom: the closer quarks are to each other, the weaker the strong interaction, given by the color charge, will be between them. When quarks are in extreme proximity, the nuclear force between them is so weak that they behave almost like free particles. This result — independently discovered at around the same time by David Gross and Frank Wilczek at Princeton University — was extremely important in the development of quantum chromodynamics, the theory of the strong nuclear interactions.  Politzer shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics with Gross and Wilczek for their discovery of asymptotic freedom.

Politzer’s Nobel Lecture, The Dilemma of Attribution (http://theory.caltech.edu/~politzer/NOBEL_LECTURE.pdf) is a friendly, readable account of the way credit is distributed among those who do important, original work in theoretical physics .  (He gives an appreciation for Veltman in this talk)

Politzer is an accomplished musician.   Physicists and engineers will particularly enjoy the original rap “Simple Harmonic Oscillator” by Politzer and the Rho mesons. ( © S. Lewicki, D. Politzer, and D. Priest, 1986)   [ http://theory.caltech.edu/~politzer/SHO.mp3]

2008W-PolitzerBanjoCalTechDavid Politzer, 2008  (Bob Paz photo)

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