The Nobel Prize in Physics 1979
Born: 3 May 1933, New York, NY, USA
Died: 23 July 2021, Austin, TX, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
Prize motivation: “for their contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including, inter alia, the prediction of the weak neutral current”
Prize share: 1/3
According to modern physics, four fundamental forces exist in nature. Electromagnetic interaction is one of these. The weak interaction—responsible, for example, for the beta decay of nuclei—is another. Thanks to contributions made by Steven Weinberg, Sheldon Glashow, and Abdus Salam in 1968, these two interactions were unified to one single, called electroweak. The theory predicted, for example, that weak interaction manifests itself in “neutral weak currents” when certain elementary particles interact. This was later confirmed.