Roman W. Jackiw

Jerrold Zacharias Professor of Physics, Emeritus
Renowned for his many fundamental contributions and discoveries in quantum and classical field theories.
(617) 253-4830
Office: 6-403
Affiliated Center(s): MIT Center for Theoretical Physics
Assistant: Charles Suggs

Research Interests

Professor Roman Jackiw is a theoretical physicist whose research interests include applying quantum field theory to physical problems, theoretical particle physics, and the search for unexpected, subtle effects that may apply to particle, condensed matter, and gravitational physics.

He is renowned for his many fundamental contributions and discoveries in quantum and classical field theories, ranging from high energy physics and gravitation to condensed matter and the physics of fluids. Among his major achievements is the establishment of the presence of the famous Adler–Bell–Jackiw anomalies in quantum field theory, a discovery with far-reaching implications for the structure of the Standard Model of particle physics and all attempts to go beyond it. Other important contributions, among many, that one may mention here are the topological mass term in gravity and gauge theories, and the fractionalization of fermion number and charge in the presence of topological objects.

Biographical Sketch

Professor Roman Jackiw was born in Lublinec, Poland on 8 November 1939. After graduating from Swathmore College in 1961, he pursued doctoral studies with Professors Hans Bethe and Kenneth Wilson at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1966.

Professor Jackiw currently occupies the Jerrold Zacharias chair in the Department of Physics (emeritus) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has been since 1969. From 1966 to 1969, he was a Junior Fellow with the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. He has held visiting professorships at Rockefeller University from 1977 to 1978, at the University of California Los Angeles and Santa Barbara in 1980, and at Columbia University from 1989 to 1990.

From 1969 to 1971, Professor Jackiw was honored as an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, and from 1977 to 1978 as a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow. In 1995 Professor Jackiw received the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics from the American Physical Society, and in 1998 the Dirac Prize and Medal from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Italy. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by Turin University, Italy, Uppsala University, Sweden, the Kyiv Bogolyubov Institute, Ukraine, and Montrèal University, Canada. He belongs to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, to the American Physical Society, to the National Academy of Sciences and is a foreign member of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences.

In addition to an extensive list of scientific publications in theoretical and mathematical physics. Focused on particle, condensed matter and gravitational physics, Professor Jackiw is the author of seven books: Intermediate Quantum Mechanics (with H.A. Bethe), written during his graduate studies, the text has gone through three editions, many printings and in 1997 was reissued as an “advanced book classic”; Lectures on Current Algebra and its Applications (with S. Treiman and D. Gross) 1972; Dynamical Gauge Symmetry Breaking (with E. Farhi) 1982; Shelter Island II (with N. Khuri, S. Weinberg and E. Witten) 1985; Current Algebra and Anomalies (With S. Treiman. B. Zumino and E. Witten) 1985; Diverse Topics in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics, 1995; Fluid Dynamics, 2002.

Awards & Honors

  • 2007 // Bonnor Essay Prize (Queen Mary University of London)
  • 2003 // Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine
  • 1998 // Dirac Medal (ICTP) (co-recipient with Stephen L. Adler) "for being leaders in the sophisticated use of quantum field theory to illuminate physical problems."
  • 1998 // National Academy of Sciences Member
  • 1995 // Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics (APS) "For his imaginative use of quantum field theory to throw light on physical problems, including his work on topological solitons, field theory at high temperatures, the existence of anomalies, and the role of these anomalies in particle physics."
  • 1977-78 // Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship
  • 1969 // Sloan Research Fellowship