Physics / Directors

David Gross

David Gross

General Director
UCSB, KITP

Theoretical Physics

David J. Gross is the Chancellor’s Chair professor of theoretical physics and the former director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. in 1966 from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining the Kavli Institute, he was the Thomas Jones professor of mathematical physics at Princeton University.

Gross was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics, along with H. David Politzer and Frank Wilczek, “for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction.” His other awards include the Sakurai Prize, a MacArthur fellowship, the Dirac Medal, the Oskar Klein Medal, the Harvey Prize, the High Energy and Particle Physics Prize of the European Physical Society, and the Grande Médaille of the French Academy of Sciences. He holds honorary degrees from institutions in the US, Britain, France Israel, Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, China, the Philippines and Cambodia. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Indian Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 2018, he became President-Elect of the American Physical Society.

poster

Edward Witten

General Director - previous
Princeton University

Edward Witten is an American theoretical physicist and the Charles Simonyi Professor in the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study. He is a researcher in string theory, quantum gravity, supersymmetric quantum field theories, and other areas of mathematical physics. In addition to his contributions to physics, His work has significantly impacted pure mathematics. In 1990, he became the first physicist to be awarded a Fields Medal by the International Mathematical Union, awarded for his 1981 proof of the positive energy theorem in general relativity. He is considered to be the practical founder of M-theory.

Most recently, he has explored quantum duality symmetries of field theories and string theories, opening significant new perspectives on particle physics, string theory, and topology.

Professor Witten was General Director of the School in Theoretical Physics from 1993-99.