Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from U-Z

Weinberg, Steven

theory nuclear predicted produced

[ wiyn berg] (1933– ) US physicist: produced a unified theory of electromagnetism and the weak nuclear interaction.

The son of a New York court stenographer, Weinberg was educated at Cornell and Princeton universities. He held appointments at Columbia, Berkeley, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard before becoming professor of physics at the University of Texas at Austin in 1986.

In 1967 Weinberg produced a gauge theory (ie one involving changes of reference frame) that correctly predicted both electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces (such as are involved in nuclear decay), despite the two differing in strength by a factor of about 10 10 . The theory also predicted a new interaction due to ‘neutral currents’, whereby a heavy chargeless particle (the Z 0 boson) is exchanged, giving rise to an attractive force between particles. This particle (short-lived when free) was duly observed at CERN in 1983 (generated by proton–antiproton collision), so giving strong support to the theory now called the electroweak or Weinberg–Salam theory. As the work was independently developed by Weinberg and , and subsequently extended by , all three shared the 1979 Nobel Prize for physics.

Weinberg’s book on the early universe, The First Three Minutes (1977), has become a classic.

Weinberger, Caspar [next] [back] Weierstrass, Karl Wilhelm Theodor

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or