Temple Times Online Edition
    APRIL 14, 2005
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Forum to feature Nobel winners

The symposium will honor Yoichiro Nambu,
the 2005 Franklin Medalist in Physics

Two Nobel Prize-winning physicists will take part in a public symposium honoring the 2005 Benjamin Franklin Medalist in Physics, Yoichiro Nambu, at the Liacouras Center on Thursday, April 21. Temple’s College of Science and Technology is co-hosting the symposium with the Franklin Institute.

The symposium, “Particles and Strings,” will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Fox-Gittis Room. It will explore and examine the research of Nambu, the Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the physics department and the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago.

Nambu will receive the Franklin Medal for his contributions to physics during a gala dinner to be held that evening at the Franklin Institute. Among science’s highest honors, the Franklin Institute Awards identify individuals whose great innovation has benefited humanity, advanced science, launched new fields of inquiry and deepened our understanding of the universe.

Previous recipients of the Franklin Medal in Physics include Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein.

Born and educated in Japan, Nambu has made several pathbreaking contributions that led the way to the modern understanding of subatomic particles: the so-called Standard Model of Matter. He introduced the concept of spontaneously broken vacuum symmetry, which revolutionized scientists’ understanding of the space in which particles move, and showed that quarks have a novel property called “color,” which is the key to why solitary quarks cannot exist. As a pioneer of “string theory,” he was the first to suggest that elementary particles might actually be string-like, rather than point-like, objects.

The symposium will feature remarks by Nambu, as well as talks given by a panel of world-class physicists, including:

• Philip W. Anderson, professor emeritus of physics at Princeton University and recipient of the 1977 Nobel Prize for Physics. Anderson will discuss “Nambu and the Physics and History of Broken Symmetry.”

• Frank Wilczek, the Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the 2004 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics. His presentation will be “Realizing Nambu’s Vision: QCD Meets BCS.”

• Paul G. Langacker, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania and a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Langacker will present “The Standard Model and Beyond.”

• Jeffrey Harvey, the Enrico Fermi Distinguished Service Professor of Physics at the Enrico Fermi Institute and the University of Chicago. He will discuss “Nambu’s Influence on the Development of String Theory.”

“This symposium will be a tremendous opportunity for our faculty and students to be exposed to some of the world’s leading physicists,” says Allen Nicholson, acting dean of the College of Science and Technology. “We are honored to be partnering with the Franklin Institute in hosting this tribute to a pioneering physicist such as Yoichiro Nambu.”

After attending last year’s awards events at the Franklin Institute, which also involved other area colleges and universities, Nicholson was determined to have Temple play a larger role in this year’s ceremonies, and was instrumental in having the University host this symposium in conjunction with the Franklin Awards.

The Temple symposium honoring Nambu was co-organized by Temple physics professor Dieter Forster, who has been a member of the Franklin Institute’s Committee on Science and the Arts since 1981.

“Yoichiro Nambu has been an extraordinarily active gentleman in the jazziest field of physics for the past 35 years,” Forster said. “I am delighted to play a part in recognizing the pioneering work of such a distinguished researcher.”

- By Preston M. Moretz