Wolf Prize in Physics

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The Wolf Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Wolf Foundation in Israel. It is one of the six Wolf Prizes established by the Foundation and awarded since 1978; the others are in Agriculture, Chemistry, Mathematics, Medicine and Arts.

The Wolf Prizes in physics and chemistry are often considered the most prestigious awards in those fields after the Nobel Prize.[1][2][3] The prize in physics has gained a reputation for identifying future winners of the Nobel Prize – from the 26 prizes awarded between 1978 and 2010, fourteen winners have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, five of those in the following year.[2]


Year Name Nationality Citation
1978 Chien-Shiung Wu  United States,
(Chinese American[5])
for her explorations of the weak interaction, helping establish the precise form and the non-conservation of parity for this natural force.
1979 George Eugene Uhlenbeck  Netherlands /  United States for his discovery, jointly with the late S. A. Goudsmit, of the electron spin.
Giuseppe Occhialini  Italy for his contributions to the discoveries of electron pair production[disambiguation needed] and of the charged pion.
1980 Michael E. Fisher
Leo P. Kadanoff
Kenneth G. Wilson
 United Kingdom
 United States
 United States
for pathbreaking developments culminating in the general theory of the critical behavior at transitions between the different thermodynamic phases of matter.
1981 Freeman J. Dyson
Gerard 't Hooft
Victor F. Weisskopf
 United Kingdom /  United States;
 Austria /  United States
for their outstanding contributions to theoretical physics, especially in the development and application of the quantum theory of fields.
1982 Leon M. Lederman
Martin Lewis Perl
 United States
 United States
for their experimental discovery of unexpected new particles establishing a third generation of quarks and leptons.
1983/84 Erwin Hahn  United States for his discovery of nuclear spin echoes and for the phenomenon of self-induced transparency.
Peter B. Hirsch  United Kingdom for his development of the utilization of the transmission electron microscope as a universal instrument to study the structure of crystalline matter.
Theodore H. Maiman  United States for his realization of the first operating laser, the pulsed three level ruby laser.
1985 Conyers Herring
Philippe Nozieres
 United States
for their major contributions to the fundamental theory of solids, especially of the behaviour of electrons in metals.
1986 Mitchell J. Feigenbaum  United States for his pioneering theoretical studies demonstrating the universal character of non-linear systems, which has made possible the systematic study of chaos.
Albert J. Libchaber  France /  United States for his brilliant experimental demonstration of the transition to turbulence and chaos in dynamic systems.
1987 Herbert Friedman  United States for pioneering investigations in solar X-rays.
Bruno B. Rossi
Riccardo Giacconi
 Italy /  United States
 Italy /  United States
for the discovery of extra-solar X-ray sources and the elucidation of their physical processes.
1988 Roger Penrose
Stephen W. Hawking
 United Kingdom
 United Kingdom
for their brilliant development of the theory of general relativity, in which they have shown the necessity for cosmological singularities and have elucidated the physics of black holes. In this work they have greatly enlarged our understanding of the origin and possible fate of the Universe.
1989 No award
1990 Pierre-Gilles de Gennes
David J. Thouless
 United Kingdom /  United States
for a wide variety of pioneering contributions to our understanding of the organization of complex condensed matter systems, de Gennes especially for his work on macromolecular matter and liquid crystals and Thouless for his on disordered and low-dimensional systems.
1991 Maurice Goldhaber
Valentine L. Telegdi
 United States;
  Switzerland /  United States
for their separate seminal contributions to nuclear and particle physics, particularly those concerning the weak interactions involving leptons.
1992 Joseph H. Taylor, Jr.  United States for his discovery of an orbiting radio pulsar and its exploitation to verify the general theory of relativity to high precision.
1993 Benoît Mandelbrot  France /  United States by recognizing the widespread occurrence of fractals and developing mathematical tools for describing them, he has changed our view of nature.
1994/95 Vitaly L. Ginzburg  Russia for his contributions to the theory of superconductivity and to the theory of high-energy processes in astrophysics.
Yoichiro Nambu  Japan /  United States for his contribution to elementary particle theory, including recognition of the role played by spontaneous symmetry breaking in analogy with superconductivity theory, and the discovery of the color symmetry of the strong interactions.
1995/96 No award
1996/97 John Archibald Wheeler  United States for his seminal contributions to black holes physics, to quantum gravity, and to the theories of nuclear scattering and nuclear fission.
1998 Yakir Aharonov
Michael V. Berry
 United Kingdom
for the discovery of quantum topological and geometrical phases. specifically the Aharonov–Bohm effect, the Berry phase, and their incorporation into many fields of physics.
1999 Dan Shechtman  Israel for the experimental discovery of quasi-crystals, non-periodic solids having long-range order, which inspired the exploration of a new fundamental state of matter.
2000 Raymond Davis, Jr.
Masatoshi Koshiba
 United States
for their pioneering observations of astronomical phenomena by detection of neutrinos, thus creating the emerging field of neutrino astronomy.
2001 No award
2002/03 Bertrand I. Halperin
Anthony J. Leggett
 United States;
 United Kingdom /  United States
for key insights into the broad range of condensed matter physics: Leggett on superfluidity of the light helium isotope and macroscopic quantum phenomena; and Halperin on two- dimensional melting, disordered systems and strongly interacting electrons.
2004 Robert Brout
François Englert
Peter W. Higgs
 United Kingdom
for pioneering work that has led to the insight of mass generation whenever a local gauge symmetry is realized asymmetrically in the world of sub-atomic particles.
2005 Daniel Kleppner  United States for groundbreaking work in atomic physics of hydrogenic systems, including research on the hydrogen maser, Rydberg atoms and Bose–Einstein condensation.
2006/07 Albert Fert
Peter Grünberg
for their independent discovery of the giant magnetoresistance phenomenon (GMR), thereby launching a new field of research and applications known as spintronics, which utilizes the spin of the electron to store and transport information.
2008 No award
2009 No award
2010 John F. Clauser
Alain Aspect
Anton Zeilinger
 United States
for their fundamental conceptual and experimental contributions to the foundations of quantum physics, specifically an increasingly sophisticated series of tests of Bell's inequalities, or extensions thereof, using entangled quantum states.
2011 Maximilian Haider
Harald Rose
Knut Urban
for their development of aberration-corrected electron microscopy, allowing the observation of individual atoms with picometer precision, thus revolutionizing materials science.
2012 Jacob D. Bekenstein  Israel for his work on black holes.[6]
2013 Peter Zoller
Ignacio Cirac
for groundbreaking theoretical contributions to quantum information processing, quantum optics and the physics of quantum gases.
2014 No award
2015 James D. Bjorken  United States for predicting scaling in deep inelastic scattering, leading to identification of nucleon’s pointlike constituents. He made a crucial contribution for elucidating the nature of the strong force.
Robert P. Kirshner  United States for creating the group, environment and directions that allowed his graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to uncover the acceleration in the expansion of the universe.
2016 Yoseph Imry  Israel for his work in mesoscopic physics – a branch of physics that studies objects that are smaller than macroscopic (visible to the naked eye) objects but bigger than atoms.[7]

Notes and references

  1. "Wolf prize goes to particle theorists" Physicsworld.com January 20, 2004
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  3. Basolo, F: From Coello to Inorganic Chemistry: A Lifetime of Reactions, page 65, Springer, 2002
  4. Wolf Prize Recipients in Physics Wolf Foundation
  5. The People's Republic of China does not recognise dual nationality. She was an American when she was awarded the prize.
  6. Institute for Advanced Study - Wolf Prize 2012
  7. Wolf Prize 2016

External links

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  • Wolf Prizes 2015

pl:Nagroda Wolfa#Wyróżnieni z fizyki