Geoffrey Chew

Geoffrey Chew

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Geoffrey Chew

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Geoffrey F. Chew (born in 1924) is an American theoretical physicist.

He has worked as a professor of physics at the UC Berkeley since 1957 and has been an emeritus since 1991. Chew holds a PhD in theoretical particle physics (1944-1946) from the University of Chicago. Between 1950 and 1956, he was a physics faculty member at the University of Illinois. In addition, Chew was a member of the National Academy of Sciences as well as the American Academy of Arts and Science.


Chew was a student of Enrico Fermi, his students including David Gross and John H. Schwarz. He was known as a leader of the S-matrix approach to the strong interaction and the associated bootstrap principle, a theory whose popularity peaked in the 1960s when he led an influential theory group at UC Berkeley. S-matrix theorists sought to understand the strong interaction by using the analytic properties of the scattering matrix to calculate the interactions of bound-states without assuming that there is a point-particle field theory underneath. The S-matrix approach did not provide a local space-time description. Although it was not immediately appreciated by the practitioners, it was a natural framework in which to produce a quantum theory of gravity.

Chew's central contribution to the program came in 1960. Along with collaborator Steven Frautschi, they noted that the mesons fall into families where the square of the mass is linearly proportional to the spin, with the same constant of...
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