Bruno Zumino (1923 - 2014)

Bruno Zumino died in Berkeley, California, on 21* June, aged 91. His name is mainly associated with the formulation of supersymmetry in four-dimensional space–time.


Bruno Zumino in 1985. (Image credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.)

Zumino graduated in physics at the University of Rome in 1945 and worked in Göttingen and then at New York University, where he became Chair of the Physics Department. In 1968, he joined the Theory Division at CERN, staying until 1981. It was here that he did his pioneering work with Julius Wess of Karlsruhe in which they formulated the first supersymmetric four-dimensional quantum field theory – the Wess–Zumino model – in 1974. Today supersymmetry is a strong candidate for physics beyond the Standard Model and provides some candidate particles for dark matter. In 1976, two years after its formulation, supersymmetry was combined with the gravitational force, giving birth to supergravity and stunning developments that include superstring theory and “M”-theory.

In 1982, Zumino became a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley, and was Emeritus Professor from 1994. Survived by his wife Mary K Gaillard and three stepchildren, he leaves an enormous legacy and will be remembered for his achievements by future generations.

Extracted from the obituary by Sergio Ferrara, CERN Courier November 2014 (p.43) and based, with permission, on the obituary first published by the Italian Physical Society, in Il Nuovo Saggiatore 30 87 (2014). 

*Because Zumino died around midnight, there was initial confusion about the date of his deathHe died on the 21st, not the 22nd, as originally stated.