Science · Physics · Nobel

David Gross

“Physics is always a gamble; it is a game of exploration. That’s the fun of it. We never know for sure what will happen. Sometimes we theorists can anticipate, but nature is the final judge.”


Gross is the Chancellor’s Chair Professor of Theoretical Physics, and former Director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara. Gross was previously Thomas Jones Professor of Mathematical Physics Emeritus at Princeton University.

Along with his student Frank Wilczek, Gross discovered the property of asymptotic freedom, which would later lead to the formulation of Quantum Chromodynamics, the theory of the strong nuclear force. Gross completed the Standard Model, which details the three basic forces of particle physics: the electromagnetic force, the weak force, and the strong force.

Gross has also made seminal contributions to the theory of superstrings that brings gravity into the quantum framework. With collaborators, he originated the “Heterotic String Theory”, the prime candidate for a unified theory of all the forces of nature. He continues to do research in this field at KITP, a global center for physics.

Participation in CDI:

  • 2017

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