Steven Weinberg
#471 Overall Influence

Steven Weinberg

American theoretical physicist

About

Why is this person notable and influential?
By Erik J. Larson

Steven Weinberg was born in New York City in 1933. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and his PhD from Princeton University. Weinberg holds the Josey Regental Chair in Science at the University of Texas at Austin, and is a member of both the Physics and the Astronomy departments there. In 2004 the American Philosophical Society called him one of the “preeminent theoretical physicist[s] alive in the world today.” Weinberg received a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Cornell University in 1954. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics at Princeton University in 1957.

Weinberg’s research focus in physics is in theoretical particle physics, where he has studied the high energy behavior of quantum field theory and gravity. He describes his approach to quantum field theory in his book The Quantum Theory of Fields and in his later textbook Gravitation and Cosmology. Weinberg is world famous for proposing, while a visiting professor at MIT in 1967, a model of unification for electromagnetism and the model of nuclear weak forces. Interestingly, one of the predictions of Weinberg’s theory was the existence of the Higgs Boson, the particle we encountered when discussing Peter Higgs (in this list, above). In what is known as the “Standard Model” of nuclear physics which has come to define the field, Weinberg has made major and lasting contributions.

Weinberg was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1968, and the National Academy of Sciences in 1972. He was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1991. In 2004, he received the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences, the American Philosophical Society.

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Schools

What schools is this person affiliated with?
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley

Public research university in Berkeley, California, United States

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Harvard University
Harvard University

Private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Columbia University
Columbia University

Private Ivy League research university in New York City

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Cornell University
Cornell University

Private university in Ithaca

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University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin

Public research university in Austin, Texas, United States

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Princeton University
Princeton University

Private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey, United States

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Notable Works

What contributions to academia has this person made?
  • The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe

Influence Rankings by Discipline

How’s this person influential?
#21 World Rank #3 USA Rank
Physics
#15838 World Rank #3638 USA Rank
Literature