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Dirac Medallists Win the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Michael Green and John Schwarz's work on quantum gravity and the unification of forces recognized.

Michael Green (l), John Schwarz at ICTP (ICTP Photo Archives/Massimo Silvano)
Michael Green (l), John Schwarz at ICTP (ICTP Photo Archives/Massimo Silvano)

13/12/2013 - Trieste

Michael Green, University of Cambridge, UK, and John Schwarz, California Institute of Technology, US, who shared ICTP's Dirac Medal in 1989, have won the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. The prize, instituted by the Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation, carries a cash award of 3 million USD and recognizes transformative achievements in the field of fundamental physics, with a special focus on recent developments.

Green, a close friend of the Centre, is the 18th Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, the chair previously held by Stephen Hawking. Green and Schwarz, the current Harold Brown Professor of Theoretical Physics at California Institute of Technology, are considered pioneers in the field of superstring theory. Their work provided a strong indication that superstring theory with specific gauge symmetry may provide a consistent unified quantum theory of the fundamental forces including gravity.

Both Green and Schwarz have been regular visitors to the Center. In 2010, they were among the Dirac Medallists who delivered lectures at ICTP's After 45 event to commemorate the Dirac Medal's 25th Anniversary. The video recordings and lecture notes of their respective lectures are available on the Dirac Programme webpage.

The Breakthrough Prize announcement was made on 12 December 2013 in an exclusive ceremony held at the NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, US. The prize in physics is one of the annual awards set up by Milner and other high profile entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Google co-founder Sergey Brin. This year, Milner and Zuckerberg announced that the foundation has established another 3 million USD prize to recognise advances in mathematics.