CERN theorist gets a Heineman

A CERN theorist is among the recipients of the American Physical Society's annual Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics.

The 2006 recipients of the Dannie Heineman Prize. From left to right : Peter van Nieuwenhuizen of the Stony Brook University (New York), Sergio Ferrara of CERN and Daniel Freedman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Picture taken in Rome in June 2005.

The 2006 prize recognises the development of supergravity by Sergio Ferrara of CERN, Daniel Freedman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Peter van Nieuwenhuizen of the State University of New York, Stony Brook.

The trio won the award for constructing and developing the first super-symmetric extension of Einstein's theory of general relativity. By providing a special class of field theories for the low-energy manifestation of superstrings, supergravity has played an important role in theoretical physics in the last thirty years.

This is not the first time that supergravity has won an award. In 1993, the trio received the prestigious Dirac Medal of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy, for their work. In June last year, CERN's Sergio Ferrara was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Rome for his work on supergravity. He is also co-recipient of the 2005 Enrico Fermi Prize of the Italian Physical Society, together with CERN theorists Gabriele Veneziano and Bruno Zumino (University of Berkeley). (See November issue of CERN Courier).

Previous winners of the Dannie Heineman Prize have included the likes of current Nobel Laureate Roy Gläuber (1996), Gerard't Hooft (1979), Steven Weinberg (1977), Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1974), Kenneth Wilson (1973) and Aage Bohr (1960). The prize was established in 1959, when the first award went to Murray Gell-Mann.