Conference in Honour of Murray Gell-Mann’s 80th Birthday
(24 to 26 February 2010)
The three-day conference from 24 to 26 February 2010 was jointly organized by IAS and the Santa Fe Institute. It was held as a tribute to Professor Murray Gell-Mann on the occasion of his 80th birthday and to celebrate his contributions in Physics. The theme of the conference was "Quantum Mechanics, Elementary Particles, Quantum Cosmology and Complexity”. It featured the following four Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Professors:
Professor Murray Gell-Mann presented to the audience a talk titled “Some Lessons from 60 Years of Theorizing”. Prof Gell-Mann won the 1969 Nobel Prize in physics for his work on the theory of elementary particles. His contributions span the entire history of particle physics, from the early days of the particle zoo to the modern day QCD. Along the way, even as he proposed new quantum numbers to bring order into the zoo, he had fun in naming them.
It is fitting indeed that the physics community gather together to celebrate the 80th birthday of this giant of the modern era, and relive the exciting days of yore, and look forward to the promises of more simplicity even in complexity.
Professor Yang Chen Ning gave a plenary talk titled “Some Problems in Cold Atom Research” during the conference. In 1957, at the age of 35, Yang Chen Ning and Lee Tsung-Dao received the Nobel Prize in Physics for their theory that the law of conservation of parity (mirror-reflection) does not apply to the weak force interactions between elementary particles. Yang is also well known for his collaboration with Robert Mills in developing a gauge theory of a new class.
During his visit at IAS, he also gave one lecture titled “An Interesting Parlor Game and its Meaning” to all NTU, NUS and poly students on 27th Feb 2010 at the Lee Kong Chian Lecture Theatre. Separately, he delivered a public lecture titled “Reflection on Returning to my Roots – Six Years after Moving to Tsinghua” on 4th Feb 2010 at the Nanyang Auditorium, which attracted more than 1500 participants.
Professor Kenneth Geddes Wilson gave a plenary talk titled “Could the Testing of the Laws of Physics Ever Be Complete?” He also held a dialogue session at the Physics Education parallel session with science teachers from local secondary schools and junior colleges. He was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize in Physics for his seminal approach, combining quantum field theory and the statistical theory of critical phenomena of second-order phase transitions.
Professor Gerard 't Hooft’s lecture was titled “Classical Cellular Automata and Quantum Field Theory”. He shared the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics with Martinus J. G. Veltman "for elucidating the quantum structure of electroweak interactions". Asteroid 9491 Thooft is named in his honour; he has written a constitution for its future inhabitants. He was awarded the Lorentz Medal in 1986 and the Spinozapremie in 1995.