(AP) — Frank Wilczek, the Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist and writer famend for his boundary-pushing investigations into the basic legal guidelines of nature, was honored Wednesday with this 12 months’s prestigious Templeton Prize, awarded to people whose life’s work embodies a fusion of science and spirituality.
In an announcement, the John Templeton Basis praised the 70-year-old Wilczek for reworking “our understanding of the forces that govern our universe,” whereas additionally making use of “the insights of his discipline to the nice questions of which means and function contemplated by generations of non secular thinkers.”
Established in 1972 by the late philanthropist Sir John Templeton, the prize is among the world’s most profitable particular person awards, at the moment greater than $1.3 million. Previous winners embrace Jane Goodall, Mom Teresa, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
“It’s an organization I’m very glad to hitch,” Wilczek instructed The Related Press in an interview forward of the announcement.
“It’s encouragement in a route that I’ve actually solely taken up in a giant means fairly just lately, though I’ve been constructing as much as it for a few years,” he stated, “which is considering not simply what the world is and the way it got here to be this fashion however what we must always do about it.”
Over an extended profession, Wilczek has recorded many distinguished achievements. That features the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics, together with David J. Gross, and H. David Politzer, for his or her 1973 breakthrough explaining the bizarre properties of the robust drive, which binds elementary particles often called quarks into protons and neutrons.
Wilczek has continued “to pioneer new ideas in physics, naming and growing the theories of anyons, time crystals, and axions, every of which now defines main fields of inquiry,” the Templeton assertion stated.
He has additionally authored a number of books which can be knowledgeable by science however delve into the non secular and philosophical. They embrace “ A Beautiful Question,” wherein he asks, “Does the universe embody lovely concepts?”; “ The Lightness of Being,” an examination of what people are manufactured from; and “ Fundamentals,” an exploration of radical life extension, the eager for immortality, the boundaries of science and different subjects.
“In learning how the world works, we’re learning how God works, and thereby studying what God is,” he writes in “Fundamentals,” launched this 12 months. “In that spirit, we are able to interpret the seek for data as a type of worship, and our discoveries as revelations.”
Wilczek “is a kind of uncommon and great people who carry collectively a eager, inventive mind and an appreciation for transcendent magnificence,” Templeton Basis president Heather Dill stated within the group’s assertion.
“Like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein,” she added, “he’s a pure thinker who unites a curiosity concerning the conduct of nature with a playful and profound philosophical thoughts.”
Born in 1951 in New York, Wilczek earned a bachelor’s diploma in arithmetic from the College of Chicago and an an M.A. in math and a Ph.D in physics from Princeton.
Rising up Catholic, he embraced the concept there was a grand plan behind existence. However as he realized extra about science, he finally misplaced religion in typical faith and, in his phrases, “jettisoned detailed dogmas.”
Nonetheless, he took from Catholicism lasting concepts that he has treasured all through his life, together with, he instructed AP, “that there’s a hidden which means to issues that we are able to strive to determine. And you could assume large by way of what all of it means and the way it got here to be.”
Wilczek at the moment is a physics professor on the Massachusetts Institute of Know-how, Arizona State College and Stockholm College. He’s additionally founding director of Shanghai Jiao Tong College’s T.D. Lee Institute and chief scientist on the faculty’s Wilczek Quantum Heart.
In a video assertion, he lauded the Templeton Prize for bringing consideration to potential new approaches to issues historically accessed by means of faith.
“The central miracle of physics to me is the truth that by enjoying with equations, drawing diagrams, doing calculations and dealing throughout the world of psychological ideas and manipulations, you might be truly describing the actual world,” Wilczek stated. “If you happen to had been in search of attempting to grasp what God is by understanding God’s work, that’s it.”
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