ICTP has awarded its 2014 Dirac Medal to Ashoke Sen (India), Andrew Strominger (USA) and Gabriele Veneziano (Italy), three physicists who have made crucial contributions to the origin, development and further understanding of string theory.
String theory derives its name from its proposition that matter is made of one-dimensional, string-like objects. It is a candidate for the fundamental theory of nature that attempts to provide a unified explanation of the universe's origins and its composition. It is concerned with the particles and forces of nature, especially gravity, the one force that does not fit with the current understanding of quantum mechanics.
Ashoke Sen is a professor at the Harish-Chandra Research Institute (HRI) in Allahabad, India, whose research on black holes and the symmetries of string theory have been highly influential in the field. He has a long affiliation with ICTP, having won the centre's ICTP Prize in 1989 and currently serving on ICTP's Scientific Council.
Andrew Strominger, a professor of physics at Harvard University, USA, has been a major figure in uncovering geometric solutions of string theory and has made important contributions to the understanding of black holes in quantum gravity.
Gabriele Veneziano, of CERN, Switzerland and Collège de France, France, published research in 1968 that marks the clear beginning of string theory and has made numerous contributions to theoretical physics.
ICTP's Dirac Medal, first awarded in 1985, is given in honour of P.A.M. Dirac, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century and a staunch friend of the Centre. It is awarded annually on Dirac's birthday, 8 August, to scientists who have made significant contributions to theoretical physics.