Arthur Wightman
Arthur Strong Wightman is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 mathematical physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

. He is one of the founders of the axiomatic approach to quantum field theory
Quantum field theory
Quantum field theory provides a theoretical framework for constructing quantum mechanical models of systems classically parametrized by an infinite number of dynamical degrees of freedom, that is, fields and many-body systems. It is the natural and quantitative language of particle physics and...

, and originated the set of Wightman axioms
Wightman axioms
In physics the Wightman axioms are an attempt at a mathematically rigorous formulation of quantum field theory. Arthur Wightman formulated the axioms in the early 1950s but they were first published only in 1964, after Haag-Ruelle scattering theory affirmed their significance.The axioms exist in...


Advised by John Wheeler
John Archibald Wheeler
John Archibald Wheeler was an American theoretical physicist who was largely responsible for reviving interest in general relativity in the United States after World War II. Wheeler also worked with Niels Bohr in explaining the basic principles behind nuclear fission...

, his 1949 Princeton
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 doctoral dissertation was entitled The Moderation and Absorption of Negative Pions in Hydrogen. His graduate students include Arthur Jaffe
Arthur Jaffe
Arthur Jaffe is an American mathematical physicist and a professor at Harvard University. Born on December 22, 1937 he attended Princeton University as an undergraduate obtaining a degree in chemistry, and later Clare College, Cambridge, as a Marshall Scholar, obtaining a degree in mathematics...

, Jerrold Marsden, and Alan Sokal
Alan Sokal
Alan David Sokal is a professor of mathematics at University College London and professor of physics at New York University. He works in statistical mechanics and combinatorics. To the general public he is best known for his criticism of postmodernism, resulting in the Sokal affair in...

. His work is summarized in the classic concise monograph PCT, Spin and statistics and all that written with R F Streater
Ray Streater
Ray F. Streater is a British physicist, and professor emeritus of Applied Mathematics at King's College London. He is best known for co-authoring a text on quantum field theory, the 1964 "PCT, Spin and Statistics and All That."- Life :...

. Its title is a pun on that of the historical satire 1066 and All That
1066 and All That
1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates is a tongue-in-cheek reworking of the history of England. Written by W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman and illustrated by John Reynolds, it first...

 by Sellar and Yeatman. The PCT refers to the combined symmetry of a quantum field theory under P Parity, C charge and T time. Spin and statistics refers to the fact that in quantum field theory it can be proved that spin 1/2 particles obey Fermi-Dirac statistics whereas integer spin 0, 1, 2 particles obey Bose-Einstein statistics.

Wightman was awarded the Henri PoincarĂ© Prize of the International Association of Mathematical Physics
International Association of Mathematical Physics
The International Association of Mathematical Physics was founded in 1976 to promote research in mathematical physics. It brings together research mathematicians and theoretical physicists, including students. The association's ordinary members are individual researchers, although associate...

 in 1997. He is currently a professor emeritus at Princeton.

External links

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