Roy J. Glauber 46, the pioneering theoretical physicist who received the Nobel Prize in 2005, and one of the last living scientists at the dawn of the atomic age, died on December 26, 2018. He is 93 years old.
The study, which puts Glauber on the way to Nobel, begins with his interest in a fundamental 1956 experiment that confirms a key concept of quantum physics – that light is both particle and wave – and sets the foundations of the field. His remarkable 1963 article, "The Quantum Theory of Optical Coherence," uses quantum-mechanical instruments to transform the scientific understanding of light, which has previously been studied only with the help of classical techniques.
"We did not really have a full understanding of the quantum properties of light and what Roy was doing was a framework to think about it," said Michael Lukin, professor of physics at George Wazer Leverett, and co-director of quantum science and engineering. "This allowed us to think of these kinds of questions quantitatively … so I would say that his work has laid the foundations of quantum science and technology that people are talking about right now."
Lukin said the Glauber theories opened the doors to many scientific discoveries as well as next-generation technologies, including quantum computers and networks, and the use of quantum cryptography based on quantum mechanics to create impossible-to-break codes .
"These ideas emerge from this framework that he develops," said Lukin. "Some people call these new developments a second quantum revolution – the first is to understand the laws of quantum mechanics. But in this second revolution … the idea is that now that we understand the quantum world and we can actually control it, let's see what we can use it for. Can we build materials with properties you design on demand? Can we build quantum computers? Can we build quantum networks where we can send information with absolute certainty from one side of the country to the other? These types of ideas are very dependent on the understanding of where the classical world ends and the quantum world begins, and it is these ideas that Roy develops and develops become absolutely critical. "
Glauber graduated from the Bronx High School and entered Harvard as a 17-year-old freshman, but remained as a secondary student when he was assigned to join the Manhattan Project, where he worked with Richard Feynman, the Nobile physicist, to calculate the critical mass of the first atomic bomb. Later Glauber attended the first tests of the bomb.
After World War II, he returned to Harvard to complete his bachelor's degree and later received a Ph.D. degree. After receiving his Ph.D. degree, he was appointed to the Institute of Advanced Studies by Robert Oppenheimer and worked there before returning to Harvard in 1952, where he spent the rest of his career.
Although he was known for the seriousness of his scientific work, his friends said Glauber was not without a lighter side. For years, he has been a "broom keeper," clearing the stage of paper planes thrown at the annual Nobel Prize ceremony, recognizing unusual or trivial scientific achievements.
One of the few years that Glauber missed the Nobel ceremony was in 2005 because he was in Stockholm where he was collecting his true Nobel Prize.
"I think he has become a real joy in his role at the Ig Noble ceremony," said Arthur Jaffe, Professor of Mathematics and Theoretical Sciences, Landon T. Clay. "He liked to portray a role as a janitor, waving the stage at the end of the show."
In his spare time, says Jaffe, Glauber has shown great interest in classical music. He and his partner, Atolie Rosset, occasionally hosted events for a local executive group in their home.
"People see him as the father of … a vast field of physics that has been very fruitful in modern life," Jaffe said. "He has always had a very clear opinion about his assessment of other scientists. Personally he remained modest; His character never changed after the Nobel Prize. "
Irwin Shapiro, a professor at the Timken University, had known Glauber for more than six decades, first as a student, and later as a colleague. He joins Glauber, ensuring that he gets his first job after receiving a doctorate.
"He was only four years older than me, and he called the head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was thinking of hiring me, and offered, no doubt, to do so," Shapiro said.
Though both had grown up in New York, they had never met before Shapiro became Glaber's first doctorate.
"An anecdote that made him laugh when I told him that for the first time I became his counselor in 1952, I told my mother about it and mentioned Roy's name as my counselor," Shapiro recalls. "She somehow mentioned it to her younger sister who contacted her and said," Oh, little guy to Felicia, Roy! "I do not know how my aunt knew Roy's mother, but somehow they were friends.
Glauber survived by his son Jeffrey, daughter, Valerie Glauber Fleshman; sister, Jacqueline Gordon; Rossett, a 13-year-old companion; and five grandchildren.