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David Gross is Chancellor’s Chair Professor of Theoretical Physics and former Director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCSB. Born in Washington D.C., he received his Ph.D. in 1966 at UC Berkeley. After a Junior Fellowship at Harvard he taught at Princeton for 27 years, where he was Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics and then Thomas Jones Professor of Mathematical Physics. In 1997 he moved to UCSB, where he served as Director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics until 2012.
Gross 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, completing the Standard Model 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 quantum fields and superstrings.
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 is a member/fellow of the American Physical Society, the U.S. National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the AAAS, the American Philosophical Society, the Indian Academy of Science, the Chinese Academy of Science, and the Third World Academy of Science. He holds 12 honorary degrees from the United States, Britain, France, Israel, Brazil, Belgium, and China.
Gross has been involved in many countries around the world in promoting, advising, and aiding science. He has helped to establish centers for theoretical physics in China, Europe, India, South America, and Vietnam. He chairs the Physics Committee of the Solvay Institutes and has organized the Solvay Conferences for the last 12 years. He has directed the Jerusalem Winter School in Physics for the last 15 years.