Advancing Basic Science for Humanity
In Depth: David Gross
David Gross is director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) and the first incumbent of the Frederick W. Gluck Chair in Theoretical Physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics, Dr. Gross was honored for discovering “asymptotic freedom," which holds that the closer quarks are to each other, the less the strong interaction between them until, when in extreme proximity, the nuclear force between them is so weak that they behave almost as free particles. Said the Swedish Academy, the discovery of asymptotic freedom brought "physics one step closer to fulfilling a grand dream to formulate a unified theory comprising gravity as well -- a theory of everything."
Dr. Gross joined the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara in January 1997. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1966 and then was a Junior Fellow at Harvard. In 1969 he went to Princeton where he was appointed Professor of Physics in 1972, and later Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics, and Thomas Jones Professor of Mathematical Physics. His many honors and appointments include election as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Member of the National Academy of Sciences and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
In this interview, Dr. Gross discusses asymptotic freedom and string theory, as well as how he was engaged in theoretical physics. He also provides insight into the unique collaborations he has fostered through the Institute, which applies the study of theoretical physics to diverse areas and disciplines, ranging from astrophysics to medicine.