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Frank Wilczek

Born: 15-May-1951
Birthplace: New York City

Gender: Male
Religion: Agnostic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Deep structure of matter

Frank Wilczek was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics, for research into the "strong force" -- the interaction binding quarks, antiquarks, and gluons to make hadrons. The honor was shared with his mentor and collaborator, David J. Gross, and with H. David Politzer, who conducted his research independently. Their work described 'asymptotic freedom', the property of some gauge theories in which the interaction between particles becomes weaker at ever-decreasing distances, and stronger as the distance decreases, and has led to a new physical theory of quantum chromodynamics.

Wilczek was 21 years old when he did his Nobel-winning work, and since that time he has done significant work on axions as dark matter candidates, the quantum theory of black holes, how matter reacts to ultra-high temperature and/or density, and exploitation of new forms of quantum statistics. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Annals of Physics, and he is a frequent contributor to Physics Today and to Nature. His wife, journalist Betsy Devine, has been Wilczek's collaborator on two books.

Raised in the Catholic church, Wilczek now considers himself agnostic. On the dichotomy between science and religion, he has said: "When religion talks about our aspirations and our sense of morality, I do not believe that science can contradict it. However, when religion contradicts science on matters of fact, religion must yield."

Father: Franciszek Wilczek ("Frank", radio-TV repairman, b. 1926)
Mother: Maria Cona Wilczek (b. 1926)
Wife: Elizabeth Devine ("Betsy ", journalist, m. 3-Jul-1973)
Daughter: Amity Wilczek (biologist, b. 3-Sep-1974)
Daughter: Mira Wilczek (scientist, b. 18-Jan-1982)

    High School: Martin Van Buren High School, Queens, NY
    University: BS Mathematics, University of Chicago (1970)
    University: MA Mathematics, Princeton University (1972)
    University: PhD Physics, Princeton University (1975)
    Teacher: Physics, Princeton University (1974-80)
    Professor: Physics, Princeton University (1980-81)
    Professor: Physics, University of California at Santa Barbara (1981-89)
    Professor: Physics, Princeton University (1989-2000)
    Professor: Theoretical Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2000-)

    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Philosophical Society
    American Physical Society
    Federation of American Scientists Board of Sponsors
    MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1982-87)
    National Academy of Sciences
    National Science Foundation
    New York Academy of Sciences Board of Governors (2006-)
    Science Debate 2008
    Phi Beta Kappa Society
    Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship (1975-77)
    Lorentz Medal 2002
    Nobel Prize for Physics 2004 (with David J. Gross and H. David Politzer)
    Italian Ancestry Maternal
    Polish Ancestry Paternal

Author of books:
Geometric Phases in Physics (1989, with Alfred Shapere)
Positron Line Radiation from Halo WIMP Annihilations as a Dark Matter Signature (1989, with Michael Stanley Turner)
Longing for the Harmonies: Themes and Variations from Modern Physics (1988, with Betsy Devine)
Fractional Statistics and Anyon Superconductivity (1990)
Fantastic Realities: 49 Mind Journeys and a Trip to Stockholm (2006, with Betsy Devine)


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