Frank Wilczek was a Member (1976–78) in the School of Natural Sciences prior to his tenure on the Institute’s Faculty. He is now the Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 2004, Wilczek and collaborators David Gross (Member 1973–74, 1977–78 in the School) and H. David Politzer received the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on the theory of the strong force, the force that holds subatomic particles together inside the nucleus. They described an aspect of the theory, called asymptotic freedom, that quarks, the constituents of the protons and neutrons within the nucleus, behave almost as free particles at very close distances. The strong force becomes weaker as the particles move closer together and stronger as they move apart, rather like a rubber band that is stretched.
Nobel Laureate, Physics Prize, 2004