FRANK WILCZEK is considered one of the world's most eminent theoretical physicists. He is known, among other things, for the discovery of asymptotic freedom, the development of quantum chromodynamics, the invention of axions, and the discovery and exploitation of new forms of quantum statistics (anyons). When only 21 years old and a graduate student at Princeton University, in work with David Gross he defined the properties of color gluons, which hold atomic nuclei together.
He received his B.S. degree from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from Princeton University. He taught at Princeton from 1974–81. During the period 1981–88, he was the Chancellor Robert Huttenback Professor of Physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the first permanent member of the National Science Foundation's Institute for Theoretical Physics. In the fall of 2000, he moved from the Institute for Advanced Study, where he was the J.R. Oppenheimer Professor, to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is the Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics. Since 2002, he has been an Adjunct Professor in the Centro de Estudios Científicos of Valdivia, Chile.Much in demand for public lectures to a wide range of audiences, Frank has been anthologized in the Norton Anthology of Light Verse and twice in Best American Science Writing (2003, 2005). His television appearances include "ghostbusting" for Penn and Teller (2005).
He has been a Sloan Foundation Fellow (1975-77) and a MacArthur Foundation Fellow (1982-87). He has received UNESCO's Dirac Medal, the American Physical Society's Sakurai Prize, the Michelson Prize from Case Western University, and the Lorentz Medal of the Netherlands Academy for his contributions to the development of theoretical physics. In 2004 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics, and in 2005 the King Faisal Prize. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Netherlands Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a Trustee of the University of Chicago.
He contributes regularly to Physics Today and to Nature, explaining topics at the frontiers of physics to wider scientific audiences. He received the Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society for these activities. Two of his pieces have been anthologized in Best American Science Writing (2003, 2005). He is co-author (with his wife, Betsy Devine) of Longing for the Harmonies, and author of Fantastic Realities, Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces, and, most recently, A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design.