December 6, 2023
Steven Weinberg

Steven Weinberg: Known for Electroweak interaction

Steven Weinberg is a theoretical physicist, best known for his contributions to the theories of the unified field theory, elementary particles and nuclear forces. He is one of the most cited physicists in history. His principal work is summarized in his book The Quantum Theory of Fields (1970) and updated in An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory (1985).

Steven Weinberg has made extensive contributions to area theory and quantum field theory; he introduced concepts such as anomaly cancellation and chirality symmetry breaking into quantum field theory. Weinberg received a share of the 1979 Nobel Prize along with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow for “his contribution to present-day theoretical physics through the overcoming, developing and systematizing ideas originated by J.J. Thomson.

About Steven Weinberg

Steven Weinberg was born in 1933 in New York City, as the son of Isaac and Rebecca Wertheimer Weinberg. His father was an accountant. His mother was an arithmetic teacher and later a worker in the family business. He did not particularly like his name, Steven, and became known as “Steve” at an early age. Steven Weinberg is a distant cousin of Sholem Aleichem through his mother’s side.

He did not learn English until he started school; this didn’t give him much time to practice before starting school, so he spoke with a slight lisp.

Life of Weinberg

His birth

Weinberg’s parents were first generation Jewish-Americans. His father, who ran a controlling business, kept him out of school until he was five years old. He had a sister named Susan and a brother named Frederick. He got to go to school when his brother was in the third grade. Steven Weinberg grew up in a lower middle-class neighborhood in WPA era New York and got everything he wanted.

He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the City College of New York (CCNY) in 1951, where he worked on particle theory under Richard Feynman, who later became his friend. He then went to do his PhD at Princeton University and finished in 1955 with Edward Teller as supervisor.

His education

Steven Weinberg had interests in all sorts of things, including farming in his childhood. He was also interested in math, chemistry and physics. Steven Weinberg liked science fiction. He read the encyclopedia-like The World Book Encyclopedia when he was ten years old, and he liked the encyclopedia which helped him to understand different things. Einstein’s early equation postulated that the universe is expanding; when Weinberg was a student at CCNY, scientists believed that this “expanding universe” was a hypothesis of Einstein, not an established fact.


Personal Life

Steven Weinberg married Margaret Koshland when he was 28 years old. Their first child Kenneth was born April 1st 1957 and their second son Mark on December 20th 1961. Weinberg lived in New York City and Palo Alto, California. He lectured at the University of Texas at Austin, University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University. His great life influence was his father who suffered from heart problem when he was born.

He died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 77 on February 15th 2007.

Steven Weinberg


Steven Weinberg graduated from the City College of New York in 1951. Then, he went on to Princeton University and received his PhD in physics under the supervision of Edward Teller. He joined the Theoretical Physics Department at Columbia University as a National Research Fellow. The following year, he was promoted to Assistant Professor at Columbia University.

He worked at Princeton, Yale and Cornell University before he moved to Harvard University in 1961 where he was appointed as Higgins Professor of Physics until 1984 when he became Higgins Professor Emeritus. In 1970 Steven Weinberg published his first book on Quantum Field Theory. Weinberg has made extensive contributions to area theory and quantum field theory; he introduced concepts such as anomaly cancellation and chirality symmetry breaking into quantum field theory.

Electroweak interaction research

The electroweak interactions, electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces, are unified in so-called Grand Unified Theories. Weinberg published a paper on the electroweak unification in 1972 and was a major contributor to many of the theories that emerged from it. Steven Weinberg received the 1979 Nobel Prize for his contributions to present-day theory of physics through his work on the unification of fundamental forces, including work on breaking electroweak symmetry.

The Standard Model

The Standard Model is a theory about the structure of matter and force which accounts for all particle interactions observed since experimenters confirmed the existence of these particles through experiments at CERN’s LEP experiment in 1983. It is based on space-time symmetry, which states that physical laws should not depend on the orientation or direction of an object in space.

Steven Weinberg used the Higgs mechanism to account for the masses of elementary particles and postulated its existence because massless particle cannot be selected with a sector of a gauge group.

The Higgs bosons are elementary particles in the Standard Model, carrying the fundamental force (weak interaction). The Higgs boson was predicted by six independent groups who found that it gives mass to all objects and particles. On July 4th 2012 CERN announced that their scientists had discovered a new subatomic particle that they believed to be a Higgs Boson with properties matching those predicted in 1964 by Peter Higgs and associates.

Awards and Honor

Steven Weinberg share Nobel Prize in 1979 in physics. He was also award the Wolf Prize in 1994, and he received honorary doctorates from Yale University, Columbia University, Harvard University, University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University. Steven Weinberg has written a few books including: “Gauge Theory” (1952), “The Classical Theory of Fields” (1963), “Relative Concepts and Absolute Relations” (1965), “What is Life?” (with F. Jacob) (1968), “Waves Mechanics” (1979), “The Quantum Theory of Fields” (1984) and more recently “String theory Demystified”(2005).

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