Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy
Claud Lovelace Graduate Fellowship
The Professor Claude Lovelace Endowed Fellowship in Experimental Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy was funded with a gift from the estate of Prof. Lovelace. Prof. Lovelace had a distinguished career at Rutgers, as a highly influential high-energy theorist.
The Lovelace Fellowship was first awarded in AY 2013-2014. It is intended for a full-time student in the Physics and Astronomy graduate program with a research focus in experimental physics.
A photograph of Prof. Lovelace is shown above. Click on the picture to see a more recent image.
Claud William Venton Lovelace was born in London, January 16, 1934. After his family emigrated to South Africa when he was 12, he went to high school in Switzerland, but he learned physics on his own, reading Dirac's book “Principles of Quantum Mechanics” at age 16. After his undergraduate education at the University of Cape Town he switched to architecture until entering graduate school at Imperial College in 1958. There his mentor was Abdus Salam, 1979 Nobel Prize winner for the electroweak unified theory. He left Imperial College without getting his Ph. D, impatient to accept a position with Daniele Amati at CERN.
During the 1960's the principal focus of high energy physics was the discovery and classification of hadronic resonances from scattering experiments. Early resonances such as the Δ stood out clearly in total cross sections, but the vast set of higher energy resonances required partial wave analysis, and Lovelace was a leader in this field. At one point, in a poster battle with an experimentalist, he claimed, probably correctly, to have discovered more particles than the experimentalist had.
In the late 1960's many ideas other than quantum field theory were being used in an attempt to understand strong interactions. These included Regge behavior and duality. Both of these were incorporated into Lovelace's analysis, but in 1968 Veneziano proposed a model of duality which Lovelace and many others jumped into. This model eventually became string theory. Originally proposed as a phenomenological model for hadronic scattering, theorists were soon extending it to loop graphs so as to respect unitarity. Lovelace noticed an inconsistency with unitarity that could be resolved by constraining the dimension of space-time (to 26 for a purely bosonic theory). This was the first observation that consistency requirements of the string constrained the geometry of space-time and the gauge groups of the theory. He also led the way in developing the mathematics of loop graphs to all orders. A study in 2009 ranked him as the 14th most influential physicist in the world for the period 1967-1973.
With this expansion in the scope of string theory, together with the work of many others introducing fermionic fields, string theory became something that might be considered a truly consistent, rather than phenomenological, theory. It also made possible the reinterpretation of it, by Scherk and Schwarz, as a theory of gravity rather than just strong interactions. As there is a fundamental problem in combining quantum field theory with gravity, this extension led to the possibility of a consistent theory including all the fundamental interactions, a “theory of everything”. Further work on the consistency of string theory led to the recognition that certain groups were selected, which led to the “first superstring revolution”. Theoretical work on string theory and its elaborations (M theory et al.) has been proceding at a massive level ever since, although the dream of a fundamental string theory has not (yet) been realized.
Lovelace moved to Rutgers in 1971 to lead the high energy theory group, which has since evolved into one of the leading groups in the world.
Claud Lovelace died, after an illness of several years, on September 7, 2012.
Rutgers greatly benefited from having Professor Lovelace as a faculty member, and will continue to benefit thanks to his generous gifts to Rutgers. In addition to this endowed graduate fellowship, Professor Lovelace become the first person to provide a match for an endowed chair in response to the challenge to Rutgers by an anonymous donor, who offered to fund half of 18 endowed chairs if the other half for each chair came from another donor. He designated that the chair should be in experimental condensed matter physics, which he felt had the most chance of making practical contributions to help humanity. He also endowed a research fund for young faculty doing research in condensed matter physics, donated his body to the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and gave his collection of over 4000 classical music CD's to the Mason Gross School of the Arts.
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