|Died||May 24, 2019 (aged 89)|
Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.
|Children||Two, plus one stepchild|
|Thesis||Coupling strength and nuclear reactions (1951)|
|Doctoral advisor||Victor Weisskopf|
Murray Gell-Mann (/
Early life and education
Gell-Mann was born in lower Manhattan into a family of Jewish immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, specifically from Chernivtsi (historical name: Czernowitz) in present-day Ukraine. His parents were Pauline (née Reichstein) and Arthur Isidore Gell-Mann, who taught English as a Second Language (ESL).
Propelled by an intense boyhood curiosity and love for nature and mathematics, he graduated valedictorian from the Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School and subsequently entered Yale College at the age of 15 as a member of Jonathan Edwards College. At Yale, he participated in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition and was on the team representing Yale University (along with Murray Gerstenhaber and Henry O. Pollak) that won the second prize in 1947. Gell-Mann earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Yale in 1948 and a PhD in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1951. His supervisor at MIT was Victor Weisskopf.
He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in 1951, and a visiting research professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign from 1952 to 1953. He was a visiting associate professor at Columbia University and an associate professor at the University of Chicago in 1954–1955 before moving to the California Institute of Technology, where he taught from 1955 until he retired in 1993.
In 1958, Gell-Mann and Richard Feynman, in parallel with the independent team of E. C. George Sudarshan and Robert Marshak, discovered the chiral structures of the weak interaction in physics. This work followed the experimental discovery of the violation of parity by Chien-Shiung Wu, as suggested by Chen-Ning Yang and Tsung-Dao Lee, theoretically.
Gell-Mann's work in the 1950s involved recently discovered cosmic ray particles that came to be called kaons and hyperons. Classifying these particles led him to propose that a quantum number called strangeness would be conserved by the strong and the electromagnetic interactions, but not by the weak interactions. (Kazuhiko Nishijima arrived at this idea independently, calling the quantity -charge after the eta meson.) Another of Gell-Mann's ideas is the Gell-Mann–Okubo formula, which was, initially, a formula based on empirical results, but was later explained by his quark model. Gell-Mann and Abraham Pais were involved in explaining several puzzling aspects of the physics of these particles.
In 1961, this led him to introduce a classification scheme for hadrons, elementary particles that participate in the strong interaction. (This scheme had been independently proposed by Yuval Ne'eman.) This scheme is now explained by the quark model. Gell-Mann referred to the scheme as the Eightfold Way, because of the octets of particles in the classification. (The term is a reference to the eightfold way of Buddhism.)
In 1964, Gell-Mann and, independently, George Zweig went on to postulate the existence of quarks, particles of which the hadrons of this scheme are composed. The name was coined by Gell-Mann and is a reference to the novel Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce ("Three quarks for Muster Mark!" book 2, episode 4). Zweig had referred to the particles as "aces", but Gell-Mann's name caught on. Quarks, antiquarks, and gluons were soon established as the underlying elementary objects in the study of the structure of hadrons. He was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1969 for his contributions and discoveries concerning the classification of elementary particles and their interactions.
In 1972 he and Harald Fritzsch introduced the conserved quantum number "color charge", and later, together with Heinrich Leutwyler, they coined the term quantum chromodynamics (QCD) as the gauge theory of the strong interaction. The quark model is a part of QCD, and it has been robust enough to accommodate in a natural fashion the discovery of new "flavors" of quarks, which superseded the Eightfold Way scheme.
At the time of his death, he was the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at California Institute of Technology as well as a University Professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Presidential Professor of Physics and Medicine at the University of Southern California. He was a member of the editorial board of the Encyclopædia Britannica. In 1984 Gell-Mann co-founded the Santa Fe Institute—a non-profit theoretical research institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico—to study complex systems and disseminate the notion of a separate interdisciplinary study of complexity theory.
He wrote a popular science book about physics and complexity science, The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex (1994). The title of the book is taken from a line of a poem by Arthur Sze: "The world of the quark has everything to do with a jaguar circling in the night".
The author George Johnson has written a biography of Gell-Mann, Strange Beauty: Murray Gell-Mann, and the Revolution in 20th-Century Physics (1999), which was shortlisted for the Royal Society Book Prize. Gell-Mann criticized it as inaccurate. The Nobel Prize–winning physicist Philip Anderson, in his chapter on Gell-Mann from a 2011 book, says that Johnson's biography is excellent. Both Anderson and Johnson say that Gell-Mann was a perfectionist and that his semibiography, The Quark and the Jaguar (1994) is consequently incomplete.
Gell-Mann introduced, independently of George Zweig, the quark — constituents of all hadrons — having first identified the SU(3) flavor symmetry of hadrons. This symmetry is now understood to underlie the light quarks, extending isospin to include strangeness, a quantum number that he also discovered.
He developed the V−A theory of the weak interaction in collaboration with Richard Feynman. In the 1960s, he introduced current algebra as a method of systematically exploiting symmetries to extract predictions from quark models, in the absence of reliable dynamical theory. This method led to model-independent sum rules confirmed by experiment and provided starting points underpinning the development of the Standard Model (SM), the widely accepted theory of elementary particles.
Gell-Mann, along with Maurice Lévy, developed the sigma model of pions, which describes low-energy pion interactions. Modifying the integer-charged quark model of Moo-Young Han and Yoichiro Nambu, Harald Fritzsch and Gell-Mann were the first to write down the modern accepted theory of quantum chromodynamics, although they did not anticipate asymptotic freedom. In 1969 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions and discoveries concerning the classification of elementary particles and their interactions.
Gell-Mann was responsible, together with Pierre Ramond and Richard Slansky, and independently of Peter Minkowski, Rabindra Mohapatra, Goran Senjanović, Sheldon Lee Glashow, and Tsutomu Yanagida, for the seesaw theory of neutrino masses, that produces masses at the large scale in any theory with a right-handed neutrino. He is also known to have played a role in keeping string theory alive through the 1970s and early 1980s, supporting that line of research at a time when it was a topic of niche interest.
Gell-Mann married J. Margaret Dow (d. 1981) in 1955: their children are Elizabeth Sarah Gell-Mann and Nicholas Webster Gell-Mann. Margaret died in 1981, and in 1992 he married Marcia Southwick, with whom he had a stepson, Nicholas Southwick Levis.
Gell-Mann's interests outside of physics included archaeology, birdwatching and linguistics. Along with S. A. Starostin, he established the Evolution of Human Languages project at the Santa Fe Institute.
Awards and honors
Gell-Mann won numerous awards and honours including the following:
- Nobel Prize in Physics (1969)
- Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award (1966)
- American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award (1962)
- Albert Einstein Medal (2005)
- Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics (1959) 
- Franklin Medal, (1967)
- National Academy of Sciences – John J. Carty Award (1968)
- Elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (1960)
- Research Corporation Award (1969)
- Elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) (1978)
- United Nations Environment Programme Roll of Honor for Environmental Achievement (The Global 500) (1988)
- American Humanist Association – Humanist of the Year (2005)
- Helmholtz-Medal of the Berlin-Brandenberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (2014)
- Gell-Mann, M., and Goldberger, M. L. (1954). "The scattering of low energy photons by particles of spin 1/2." Physical Review, 96, 1433–8.
- "Professor Murray Gell-Mann ForMemRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015.
- Murray Gell-Mann at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- "Higgs Scalars and the Nonleptonic Weak Interactions" (1977)
- Johnson, George (May 24, 2019). "Murray Gell-Mann, Who Peered at Particles and Saw the Universe, Dies at 89". Obituaries. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
- "Nobel Prize Winner Appointed Presidential Professor at USC". Archived from the original on September 19, 2010.
- Gell-Mann, M. (1972). "Quarks". CERN-affiliated article by Gell-Mann. Springer. pp. 733–761. doi:10.1007/978-3-7091-4034-5_20. ISBN 978-3-7091-4036-9.
- Scientific publications of M. Gell-Mann on INSPIRE-HEP
- M. Gell-Mann (October 1997). "My Father". Web of Stories. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
- J. Brockman (2003). "The Making of a Physicist: A talk with Murray Gell-Mann". Edge Foundation, Inc. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
- Profile, imdb.com; accessed April 26, 2015.
- Gell-Mann, Murray (1951). Coupling strength and nuclear reactions (PhD thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. hdl:1721.1/12195. OCLC 30406975.
- in 1954, there, with Francis E. Low, he discovered the renormalization group equation of QED.
- "Interview with Murray Gell-Mann [Oral History]". Caltech Institute Archives. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
- Gleick, James (1992). Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-40836-3. OCLC 243743850.
- Gell-Mann, M. (1956). "The Interpretation of the New Particles as Displaced Charge Multiplets". Il Nuovo Cimento. 4 (supplement 2): 848. doi:10.1007/BF02748000.
- Nishijima, K (1955). "Charge Independence Theory of V Particles". Progress of Theoretical Physics. 13 (3): 285. Bibcode:1955PThPh..13..285N. doi:10.1143/PTP.13.285.
- Nambu, Y. (2009). "Kazuhiko Nishijima". Physics Today. 62 (8): 58. Bibcode:2009PhT....62h..58N. doi:10.1063/1.3206100.
- Gell-Mann, M. (March 15, 1961). "The Eightfold Way: A Theory of Strong Interaction Symmetry" (TID-12608). Pasadena, CA: California Inst. of Tech., Synchrotron Laboratory. doi:10.2172/4008239.
- Ne'eman, Y. (August 1961). "Derivation of Strong Interactions from a Gauge Invariance". Nuclear Physics. Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Co. 26 (2): 222–229. doi:10.1016/0029-5582(61)90134-1.
- G. Zweig (1980) . "An SU(3) model for strong interaction symmetry and its breaking II". In D. Lichtenberg and S. Rosen (eds.). Developments in the Quark Theory of Hadrons. 1. Hadronic Press. pp. 22–101.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
- Simple listing of Nobel Prize in Physics, 1969 Retrieved February 15, 2017
- Fritzsch, H.; Gell-Mann, M.; Leutwyler, H. (1973). "Advantages of the color octet gluon picture". Physics Letters. 47B (4): 365–368. Bibcode:1973PhLB...47..365F. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.453.4712. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(73)90625-4.
- "Caltech Mourns the Passing of Murray Gell-Mann (1929–2019)". California Institute of Technology. May 24, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
- Mitchell M. Waldrop (1993). Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. Simon & Schuster.
- George A. Cowan (2010). Manhattan Project to the Santa Fe Institute: The Memoirs of George A. Cowan. University of New Mexico Press.
- "Murray Gell-Mann – Physicist – The decision to write "The Quark and the Jaguar" – Web of Stories".
- Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize winners list at docs.google.com/spreadsheets Retrieved February 15, 2017
- Anderson, Philip W. (2011). "Ch. V Genius. Search for Polymath's Elementary Particles". More and Different: Notes from a Thoughtful Curmudgeon. World Scientific. pp. 241–2. ISBN 978-981-4350-14-3.Philip Anderson, More and Different, Chapter V, World Scientific, 2011.
- Mary McFadden; Murray Gell-Mann (2012). Mary McFadden: A Lifetime of Design, Collecting, and Adventure. Random House Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-8478-3656-7.
- Sudarshan, E. C. G.; Marshak, R. E. (June 1, 2016). "Origin of the Universal V‐A theory". AIP Conference Proceedings. 300 (1): 110–124. doi:10.1063/1.45454. ISSN 0094-243X.
- Ellis, John (2011). "Prospects for New Physics at the LHC". In Fritzsch, Harald; Phua, K. K.; Baaquie, B. E. (eds.). Proceedings of the Conference in Honour of Murray Gell-Mann's 80th Birthday: Quantum Mechanics, Elementary Particles, Quantum Cosmology and Complexity : Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 24–26 February 2010. World Scientific. ISBN 9789814335607.
- Cao, Tian Yu (2010). From Current Algebra to Quantum Chromodynamics: A Case for Structural Realism. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139491600.
- Gell-Mann, M.; Lévy, M. (1960). "The axial vector current in beta decay". Il Nuovo Cimento. 16: 705–726. Bibcode:1960NCim...16..705G. doi:10.1007/BF02859738.
- "Murray Gell-Mann - Biographical". The Nobel Prize. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
- M. Gell-Mann, P. Ramond and R. Slansky, in Supergravity, ed. by D. Freedman and P. Van Nieuwenhuizen, North Holland, Amsterdam (1979), pp. 315-321. ISBN 044485438X
- Rickles, Dean (2014). A Brief History of String Theory: From Dual Models to M-Theory. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9783642451287. OCLC 968779591.
- Kent, Adrian (April 14, 1997). "Consistent Sets Yield Contrary Inferences in Quantum Theory". Physical Review Letters. 78 (15): 2874. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.78.2874.
- Biography at the Santa Fe Institute
- Peregrine, Peter Neal (2009). Ancient Human Migrations: A Multidisciplinary Approach. The University of Utah Press. p. ix. ISBN 978-0-87480-942-8.
- The International Academy of Humanism at the website of the Council for Secular Humanism. Retrieved October 18, 2007. Some of this information is also at the International Humanist and Ethical Union Archived April 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine website
- Herman Wouk (2010). The Language God Talks: On Science and Religion. Hachette Digital, Inc. ISBN 9780316096751.
Feynman, Gell-Mann, Weinberg, and their peers accept Newton's incomparable stature and shrug off his piety, on the kindly thought that the old man got into the game too early. ... As for Gell-Mann, he seems to see nothing to discuss in this entire God business, and in the index to The Quark and the Jaguar God goes unmentioned. Life he called a "complex adaptive system", which produces interesting phenomena such as the jaguar and Murray Gell-Mann, who discovered the quark. Gell-Mann is a Nobel-class tackler of problems, but for him the existence of God is not one of them.
- Nobel Laureate Murray Gell-Mann endorses Obama, at youtube.com Retrieved February 15, 2017
- Carey, Benedict (October 20, 2017). "How Fiction Becomes Fact on Social Media". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
- Marshall, Jenna (May 24, 2019). "Murray Gell-Mann passes away at 89". Santa Fe Institute (Press release). Retrieved May 24, 2019.
- "Murray Gell-Mann 1966". US Department of Energy, Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award. May 3, 2016. Archived from the original on January 27, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
For his contributions of the highest significance to the theory of elementary and theoretical work in the field of physics.
- "Murray Gell-Mann, Ph.D. Biography and Interview". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
- "Albert Einstein Medal". Einstein Society | Einsteinhaus Bern. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
- "1959 Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics Recipient". American Physical Society. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
For his contributions to field theory and to the theory of elementary particles.
- "Murray Gell-Mann, Physics (1967)". The Franklin Institute. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
- "John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
- Gell-Mann listing at member-directory of nasonline.org Retrieved February 15, 2017
- "Murray Gell-Mann". Global 500 Environmental Forum. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
- "The Humanist of the Year". American Humanist Association. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
- Press Release, 10-2014, from Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften Retrieved February 15, 2017
- Encyclopædia Britannica's Biography of Murray Gell-Mann[permanent dead link]
- Fritzsch, H.; Gell-Mann, M.; Leutwyler, H. (November 26, 1973). "Advantages of the color octet gluon picture" (PDF). Physics Letters B. 47 (4): 365–8. Bibcode:1973PhLB...47..365F. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.453.4712. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(73)90625-4.
- Fritzsch, H.; Gell-Mann, M. (1972). "Current algebra- quarks and what else?". In Jackson, J.D.; Roberts, A.; International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (eds.). Proceedings of the XVI International Conference on High Energy Physics. 2. National Accelerator Laboratory. pp. 135–165. OCLC 57672574.
- Murray Gell-Mann tells his life story at Web of Stories
- Strange Beauty: Murray Gell-Mann and the Revolution in 20th Century Physics
- The Making of a Physicist: A Talk With Murray Gell-Mann
- Berreby, D. (May 8, 1994). "The Man Who Knows Everything". New York Times.
- The Man With Five Brains
- The many worlds of Murray Gell-Mann
- The Simple and the Complex, Part I: The Quantum and the Quasi-Classical with Murray Gell-Mann, Ph.D.
- Nobel Prize Biography
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Murray Gell-Mann.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Murray Gell-Mann|
- Murray Gell-Mann on INSPIRE-HEP
- Gell-Mann's Home Page at SFI
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- Murray Gell-Mann Video Interview with the Academy of Achievement in 1990
- Murray Gell-Mann talks quarks (Video)
- Membership at the Council on Foreign Relations