Remembering Geoffrey Chew

Monday, April 15, 2019

Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Chew passed away quietly in the company of his immediate family on the morning of April 12.

Geoffrey was a student of Enrico Fermi. He joined the Berkeley Physics faculty in 1957, becoming emeritus 34 years later, in 1991. Over his career he mentored and graduated over 70 Ph.D. students, including David Gross and John Schwarz. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Chew led an infuluential theory group, and was known as a leader of the S-matrix approach to the strong interaction and the associated bootstrap principle. 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.

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