Previous speakers and artists

January 4-8, 2010

The future of science and human development

Prof. David J. Gross

Keynote Speaker

Prof. David Jonathan Gross is a 2004 Nobel Laureate for Physics, the director and holder of the Frederick W. Gluck Chair in Theoretical Physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of California in Santa Barbara and a Member of the Advisory Board of the International Peace Foundation.

Born in Washington, D.C., David J. Gross received his undergraduate degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1962 and then returned to the United States to continue his education at the University of California, Berkeley, from where he received his Ph.D. in physics in 1966. He left Berkeley later that year to serve as a junior fellow at Harvard University.

David J. Gross began his professional teaching career at Princeton University in 1969 and was appointed professor of physics in 1972. During that same period, between 1970 and 1975, he also became a fellow at the Sloan Foundation. David J. Gross remained at Princeton until 1996, where he was named Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics (1986-1995) and Thomas Jones Professor of Mathematical Physics (1995-1997). In 1997 he was appointed director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a position he holds until this day.

Professor Gross has also been a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is the recipient of the J. J. Sakurai Prize of the American Physical Society, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Dirac Medal, the Oscar Klein Medal and the Harvey Prize of the Technion. He has received various honorary degrees and was selected to receive France's highest scientific honor, the Grande Médaille D'Or, for his contributions to the understanding of fundamental physical reality.

In 2004 David J. Gross, together with H. David Politzer and Frank Wilczek, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for discoveries regarding the strong force – the nuclear force that binds together quarks (the smallest building blocks of matter) and holds together the nucleus of the atom.

The prizewinning work of David J. Gross and of his first graduate student Frank Wilczek – with H. David Politzer working independently – arose from physics experiments with particle accelerators conducted in the early 1970s to study quarks and the force that acts on them. During their research the three scientists observed that quarks were so tightly bound together that they could not be separated as individual particles but that the closer quarks approached one another, the weaker the strong force became. When quarks were brought very close together, the force was so weak that the quarks acted almost as if they were free particles not bound together by any force. When the distance between two quarks increased, however, the force became greater – an effect analogous to the stretching of a rubber band. This phenomenon became known as asymptotic freedom, and it led to a completely new physical theory, quantum chromodynamics (QCD), to describe the strong force.

This theory was an important contribution to the Standard Model, the theory that describes all physics connected with the electromagnetic force (which acts between charged particles), the weak force (which is important for the sun's energy production) and the strong force (which acts between quarks). With the aid of QCD physicists can at last explain why quarks only behave as free particles at extremely high energies. In the proton and the neutron they always occur in triplets. QCD has been widely accepted to be the best understanding of how the universe works and has brought physics one step closer to fulfilling a grand dream: to formulate a unified theory comprising gravity as well as a theory for everything.

More recently, Professor Gross has been engaged in research in superstring theory being the co-inventor of a new superstring model.


Monday, January 4, 2010:
14:00 Keynote speech and dialogue at Chiang Mai University in Chiang Mai (Thailand)
Information and free seat reservation:

phone (053) 943-322, fax (053) 943-467, email

Wednesday, January 6, 2010:
14:00 Keynote speech and dialogue at the University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
Information and free seat reservation:

phone (023) 993-274, (023) 993-275, (012) 483-508, fax (023) 993-284, email,

Friday, January 8, 2010:
14:00 Public dialogue with researchers at the Royal University of Phnom Penh in Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
Information and free seat reservation:
phone (023) 884-320, (011) 850-121, fax (023) 880-116, email