Sad news (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 24, 2021, 20:04 (90 days ago)

Stephen Weinberg has died at 88.

"He was arguably the dominant figure in theoretical particle physics during its period of great success from the late sixties to the early eighties. In particular, his 1967 work on unification of the weak and electromagnetic interactions was a huge breakthrough, and remains to this day at the center of the Standard Model, our best understanding of fundamental physics.


"In early 2002 he was one of several people I wrote to about the current state of string theory, and here’s what I heard back from him:

"I share your disappointment about the lack of contact so far of string theory with nature, but I can’t see that anyone else (including those studying topological nontrivialities in gauge theories) is doing much better. I thinks that some theorists should go on pushing as hard as they can on string theory, and others should do something else, but it is not easy to see what. I have myself voted with my feet (if that is the appropriate organ here) and switched entirely to work in cosmology, which is as exciting now as particle physics was in the 1960s and 1970s. I wouldn’t criticize anyone for their choices: it’s a tough time for fundamental physics.


"Weinberg’s death yesterday, taking away from us the dominant figure of the period of particle theory’s greatest success is both a significant loss and marks the end of an era. His 2002 remark that “it’s a tough time” is even more true today."

Comment: I've closely followed his work, but never read one of his books. He was at the U. of Texas in Austin.

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