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Hugh David Politzer

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Title: Hugh David Politzer  
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Subject: Stephen Wolfram, Nobel Prize in Physics, J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics recipients, American nuclear physicists, List of theoretical physicists
Collection: 1949 Births, American Nobel Laureates, American Nuclear Physicists, American People of Slovak Descent, American Physicists, California Institute of Technology Faculty, Guggenheim Fellows, Harvard Fellows, Harvard University Alumni, J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics Recipients, Jewish American Scientists, Jewish Physicists, Living People, Nobel Laureates in Physics, Particle Physicists, The Bronx High School of Science Alumni, Theoretical Physicists, University of Michigan Alumni
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Hugh David Politzer

Hugh David Politzer
Born (1949-08-31) August 31, 1949
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality United States
Fields Physics
Institutions California Institute of Technology
Alma mater University of Michigan
Harvard University
Doctoral advisor Sidney Coleman
Doctoral students Stephen Wolfram
Known for Quantum chromodynamics, asymptotic freedom
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physics (2004)

Hugh David Politzer (born August 31, 1949) is an American theoretical physicist. He shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics with David Gross and Frank Wilczek for their discovery of asymptotic freedom in quantum chromodynamics.


  • Life and career 1
  • Trivia 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Life and career

Politzer was born in New York City. His parents, Alan and Valerie Politzer, immigrated to the U.S. after World War II and were both doctors. 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 PhD in 1974 from Harvard University, where his graduate advisor was 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 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 Gross and Wilczek at Princeton University—was extremely important in the development of quantum chromodynamics. With Thomas Appelquist, Politzer also played a central role in predicting the existence of "charmonium", a subatomic particle formed of a charm quark and a charm antiquark.

Politzer was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows from 1974 to 1977 before moving to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he is currently professor of theoretical physics. In 1989, he appeared in a minor role in the movie Fat Man and Little Boy, as Manhattan Project physicist Robert Serber.


He was also the lead vocalist in the 1980s for "Professor Politzer and the Rho Mesons", which put out their single, "The Simple Harmonic Oscillator".[1][2]

Politzer is well known for wearing Hawaiian shirts on a regular basis.


  • Politzer, H.D. (1973). "Reliable Perturbative Results for Strong Interactions?".  
  • Politzer, H.D. (1974). "Asymptotic Freedom: An Approach to Strong Interactions".  
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External links

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