Steven Weinberg

Steven Weinberg ( May 3, 1933, New York City ) is an American physicist and Nobel Prize winner (1979). He is one of the founders of the Association of electromagnetic and weak interactions to electroweak interactions in the Standard Model of elementary particle physics. Weinberg is also known for his contributions to astrophysics and cosmology.


Weinberg was 1950 graduate of the Bronx High School of Science in New York and studied at Cornell University, where in 1954 a bachelor's degree made ​​, followed by a year at Copenhagen in Gunnar Källen. He received his Ph.D. in 1957 from Princeton University with Sam Treiman with a thesis on the application of Renormalisierungstheorie on effects of the strong interaction processes in the weak interaction. After that he went to Columbia University from 1959 to 1966, the University of California, Berkeley, and from 1966 to 1969 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. In 1969 he became a professor at MIT and in 1973 as the successor of Julian Schwinger at Harvard, where he was a Senior Scientist at the Smithsonian Observatory simultaneously. Since 1982 he is professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin.

Steven Weinberg made ​​outstanding contributions in the fields of particle physics, quantum field theory and cosmology. During the 1960s he worked for example with the quantum field theory of massless particles, the mechanism of spontaneous symmetry breaking (a subject on which he came back later again and again), Stromalgebren (current algebra), chiral symmetry of the strong interaction and the light- front formalism. Around 1969 he formulated his then SU (2 ) theory of the union of the electromagnetic and weak interactions, for which he eventually won the Nobel Prize. Here is the Weinberg angle for the mixture of photon and Z- boson is named after him. In the 1970s and 1980s he worked on, among others, the development of these theories to the Grand Unified Theories (GUT, Grand Unified Theories ), quantum chromodynamics and gauge theories.

Since the 1960s, during which he wrote his textbook on gravitation, he focused on astrophysical questions. He was one of the pioneers of the border area between elementary particle physics and cosmology. Became popular vineyard through his bestselling book The First Three Minutes about the evolution of the universe after the Big Bang. It is also known to be review articles on the problem of the cosmological constant.

In addition to his scientific work, he has also dealt with philosophical issues such as the reductionist method in the natural sciences or the conflict between scientific research and religion. Weinberg is also open for himself as an atheist and sees a danger in religious thinking. Weinberg is a well-known public figure of science in the United States, he writes, for example, for the New York Review of Books and testified to Congress from the failed project of the Superconducting Super Collider ( SSC ), which should be built in his adopted home of Texas. Weinberg is also a member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.

Since 1954, he is married to the law professor Louise Weinberg, with whom he has a daughter.

Prizes and awards

1979 was Steven Weinberg together with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to the theory of unification of weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including inter alia the prediction of the Z boson and the weak neutral current (see electroweak interactions ). In 2004 he received the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the American Philosophical Society, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of Great Britain, and the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Weinberg honorary doctorate from a total of sixteen universities were awarded from all over the world. In 1977 he received the Dannie Heineman Prize and for his book " The First Three Minutes " the Science Writing Award from the American Institute of Physics. In 1999 he was - awarded the Emperor Has No Clothes Award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation - be the first.

The asteroid ( 6036 ) vineyard was named after him.


  • " I think that an enormous damage was done by religion - not only in the name of religion, but actually by religion. " (I think enormous harm is done by religion - not just in the name of religion, but Actually by religion. ) - The Atheism Tapes
  • "Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without good people would do good things and evil people evil. But for good people to do evil, it is necessary to religion. " ( Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, did takes religion. ). Vineyard in a speech at the conference " Cosmic Questions" of the American Association for the Advancement of Science ( AAAS) in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC on 15 April 1999.
  • "The fact that elementary particle physics in our eyes appear more fundamental than other branches of physics, is that it actually is fundamental " - To: Henning Genz: elementary particle physics. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2003.
  • " The physics makes it impossible not to believe in God, but rather allows, not to believe in God. Without science everything is a miracle. With science, the possibility remains that nothing is. In this case, religious belief is becoming less necessary and less and less relevant " Quoted from Lawrence Krauss:. A Universe From Nothing, Simon & Schuster, London 2012, p 183


Popular Scientific

  • The first three minutes. Piper, Munich, 1977, ISBN 3-492-22478-4.
  • The dream of the unity of the universe. Bertelsmann, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-570-02128-9. English original: Dreams of a Final Theory, Vintage Books 1994

Theses books:

  • Gravitation and Cosmology: Principles and Applications of the General Theory of Relativity. Wiley, New York 1972, ISBN 0471925675th
  • Cosmology. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2008, ISBN 0,198,526,822th
  • The Quantum Theory of Fields: Volume 1-3. Cambridge University Press 1995, 1996, 2000, ISBN 0521670535, ISBN 0521670543, ISBN 0,521,660,009th
  • Lectures on Quantum Mechanics, Cambridge University Press 2013

Some essays:

  • A Model of Leptons. In: Physical Review Letters. Band. 19, 1967, pp. 1264-1266.
  • With Howard Georgi, Helen R. Quinn: Hierarchy in Gauge Interactions of Unified Theories. In: Physical Review Letters. Volume 33, 1974, p 451-454.
  • Sheldon L. Glashow with: Natural Conservation Laws for Neutral Currents. In: Phys. Rev. D. 15, 1977, p 1958.
  • Cosmological production of baryons. In: Physical Review Letters. Volume 42, 1979, p 850
  • The Cosmological Constant Problem. In: Rev. Mod Phys. Volume 61, 1989, p 1-23.


Vineyard also appears in the documentary The Atheism Tapes ( 2004) by Jonathan Miller. The Atheism Tapes includes interviews with six eminent personalities from the field of philosophy and science. Vineyard expresses itself in a half-hour interview on the subject of religion and atheism.