FACTOID # 18: Alaska spends more money per capita on elementary and secondary education than any other state.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Eugene Wigner
Eugene Wigner
Eugene Wigner

Eugene Paul Wigner (Hungarian Wigner Pál Jenő) (November 17, 1902January 1, 1995) was a Hungarian physicist and mathematician who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 "for his contributions to the theory of the atomic nucleus and the elementary particles, particularly through the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles". Wigner was sometimes referred to as the Silent Genius as some of his contemporaries considered him the intellectual equal to Einstein, without the prominence. Wigner is famous for laying the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics as well as for his research into atomic nuclei, as well as for his several theorems. Image File history File links Wigner. ... Image File history File links Wigner. ... 17 November is also the name of a Marxist group in Greece, coinciding with the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising. ... 1902 (MCMII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A physicist is a scientist trained in physics. ... Leonhard Euler is considered by many people to be one of the greatest mathematicians of all time A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study and research is mathematics. ... Hannes Alfvén (1908–1995) accepting the Nobel Prize for his work on magnetohydrodynamics [1]. List of Nobel Prize laureates in Physics from 1901 to the present day. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... A semi-accurate depiction of the helium atom. ...

Contents


Early life

Wigner was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary) to a Catholic middle-class family. It is said in his memoirs that his parents were both, however, of Jewish descent. At age 11, Eugene had a brush with tuberculosis, and for six weeks was kept at a sanitarium in the Austrian mountains with his mother, though it is said the remainder of his childhood was peaceful. Wigner attended the Lutheran Gymnasium where he studied mathematics from László Rátz, teacher of John von Neumann. In 1921, he studied at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin (today the Technische Universität Berlin). He also attended the Wednesday afternoon colloquia of the German Physical Society. These colloquia featured such luminaries as Max Planck, Max von Laue, Rudolf Ladenburg, Werner Heisenberg, Walther Nernst, Wolfgang Pauli and — most of all — Albert Einstein. Wigner met Leó Szilárd at the colloquium. Szilárd became at once Wigner's closest friend. A third experience in Berlin was formative. Wigner worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, and there met Michael Polanyi, who would become, after László Rátz, Wigner's greatest teacher. Nickname: Paris of the East, Pearl of the Danubeor Queen of the Danube Official website: www. ... Austria-Hungary, also known as the Dual monarchy (or: the k. ... Tuberculosis (commonly shortened to TB) is an infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs (pulmonary TB) but can also affect the central nervous system (meningitis), lymphatic system, circulatory system (Miliary tuberculosis), genitourinary system, bones and joints. ... A gymnasium (pronounced /gim-/ as opposed to /jim-/) is a type of school of secondary education in parts of Europe. ... Euclid, a famous Greek mathematician known as the father of geometry, is shown here in detail from The School of Athens by Raphael. ... 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... The Central Institute for Modern Languages at the Technical University The Technical University of Berlin (TUB, TU Berlin, German: Technische Universität Berlin) is located in Berlin in Germany. ... Max Planck Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck (April 23, 1858 – October 4, 1947) was one of the most important German physicists of the late 19th and early 20th century; he is considered to be the founder of quantum theory. ... Max von Laue (October 9, 1879 - April 24, 1960) was a German physicist, who studied under Max Planck. ... Werner Heisenberg Werner Karl Heisenberg (December 5, 1901 – February 1, 1976) was a celebrated German physicist and Nobel laureate, one of the founders of quantum mechanics. ... Walther Nernst. ... Wolfgang Pauli Wolfgang Ernst Pauli (April 25, 1900 – December 15, 1958) was an Austrian physicist noted for his work on the theory of spin, and in particular the discovery of the Exclusion principle, which underpins the whole of chemistry. ... Albert Einstein, photographed by Yousuf Karsh in 1948. ... Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (in German Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft) was the name of a number of scientific institutes in Germany before World War II. After 1945 they were re-organised and renamed as Max Planck Institutes. ... Michael Polanyi (March 11, 1891 - February 22, 1976) was a Hungarian/ British polymath whose thought and work extended across physical chemistry, economics, and philosophy. ...


Middle Years

In the late 1920s, Wigner explored deeply in the field of quantum mechanics. A period at Göttingen as an assistant to the great mathematician David Hilbert proved a disappointment, as Hilbert was no longer active in his works. Wigner nonetheless studied independently. Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics. In the late 1930s, he extended his research into atomic nuclei. He developed an important general theory of nuclear reactions (see for instance the Wigner-Eckart theorem). By 1929, his papers were drawing notice in the physics world. In 1930, Princeton University recruited Wigner and Von Neumann, which was timely as the Nazi Regime in Germany emerged. In Princeton in 1934 Wigner introduced his sister Manci to the physicist Paul Dirac. They married, and the ties between Wigner and Dirac deepened. Göttingen ( ) is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany. ... David Hilbert David Hilbert (January 23, 1862, Wehlau, East Prussia–February 14, 1943, Göttingen, Germany) was a German mathematician, recognized as one of the most influential mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries. ... This article or section is missing references or citation of sources. ... The Wigner-Eckart theorem is a theorem of representation theory and quantum mechanics allowing operators to be transformed from one basis to another. ... 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1930 (MCMXXX) is a common year starting on Wednesday. ... 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ...


In 1936, Princeton did not rehire Wigner, and he moved to the University of Wisconsin. There he met his first wife, a physics student named Amelia Frank, but she died in 1937 leaving Wigner distraught. On January 8, 1937, Wigner became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Princeton University shortly invited Wigner back. He rejoined the Princeton faculty in the fall of 1938. Though a professed political amateur, in 1939 and 1940, Dr. Wigner played a major role in agitating for a Manhattan Project. However, he was by personal preference a passivist. He would later contribute to civil defense in the US. In 1946, Wigner accepted a job as director of research and development at Clinton Laboratory (now Oak Ridge National Laboratory) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. This did not work out especially well Wigner returned to Princeton. 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public university located in Madison, Wisconsin. ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... January 8 is the 8th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Naturalization is the process whereby a person becomes a national of a nation, or a citizen of a country, other than the one of his birth. ... 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... The Manhattan Project resulted in the development of the first nuclear weapons, and the first-ever nuclear detonation at the Trinity test of July 16, 1945. ... 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a multiprogram science and technology national laboratory managed for the United States Department of Energy by UT-Battelle, LLC. ORNL is located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, near Knoxville. ... Oak Ridge is a city located in Anderson and Roane Counties in eastern Tennessee, about 25 miles northwest of Knoxville. ... Official language(s) English Capital Nashville Largest city Memphis Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 36th 109,247 km² 195 km 710 km 2. ...


Last Years

In 1960, Wigner gave a thought-provoking insight into the power of mathematics in his best-known essay outside physics, now a classic paper, The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences, in which he argued that biology and cognition could be the origin of physical concepts, as we humans perceive them, and that the happy coincidence that mathematics and physics were so well matched, seemed to be "unreasonable" and hard to explain, though he found resistance to this theory, notably by distinguished mathematician Andrew M. Gleason. In 1963, Wigner received the Nobel Prize in Physics. He professed never to have even considered the possibility that this might occur, and added: "I never expected to get my name in the newspapers without doing something wicked." He would later go on to win the Enrico Fermi award, and the National Medal of Science. In 1992, at the age of 90, he published a memoir, The Recollections of Eugene P. Wigner with Andrew Szanton. Wigner died three years later in Princeton. His most significant student was Abner Shimony. 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1960 calendar). ... The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences, published by physicist Eugene Wigner in 1960, argues that the capacity of mathematics to successfully predict events in physics cannot be a coincidence, but must reflect some larger or deeper or simpler truth in both. ... 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (the link is to a full 1963 calendar). ... Hannes Alfvén (1908–1995) accepting the Nobel Prize for his work on magnetohydrodynamics [1]. List of Nobel Prize laureates in Physics from 1901 to the present day. ... Enrico Fermi in the 1940s Enrico Fermi (September 29, 1901–November 28, 1954) was an Italian physicist most noted for his work on beta decay, the development of the first nuclear reactor, and for the development of quantum theory. ... National Medal of Science The National Medal of Science, also called the Presidential Medal of Science, is an honor given by the President of the United States to individuals in science and engineering who have made important contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the fields of behavioral and social... 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ... Abner Shimony (born 1928, Columbus Ohio) is a physicist and philosopher of science specializing in quantum theory. ...


Near the end of his life his thought turned more philosophical. In his memoir, Wigner said: "The full meaning of life, the collective meaning of all human desires, is fundamentally a mystery beyond our grasp. As a young man, I chafed at this state of affairs. But by now I have made peace with it. I even feel a certain honor to be associated with such a mystery". He developed interest in the Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism, particularly with it's ideas of the universe as an all pervading consciousness. In his collection of essays (Symmetries and Reflections- Scientific Essays), he commented "It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness". Vedanta (Vedānta, वेदान्त, pronounced as ) means the anta or culmination or essence of the Vedas. ... Hinduism {Sanskrit/Hindi - Hindū Dharma, also known as Sanātana (eternal) Dharma and Vaidika (of the Vedas) Dharma} is the religion based on the Vedas as well as other traditional scriptures and beliefs. ... Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and ones environment. ...


Also in the realm of theoretics is the thought experiment, Wigner's friend paradox. It is often seen as an extension of the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment. The Wigner's friend experiment asks the question: at what stage does a "measurement" take place? Wigner designed the experiment to highlight how he believed consciousness is necessary to the quantum mechanical measurement process. Wigners friend is a thought experiment proposed by the physicist Eugene Wigner; it is an extension of the Schrödingers cat experiment designed as a point of departure for discussing the mind-body problem as viewed by the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. ...


References

  • Eugene P. Wigner. Symmetries and Reflections: Scientific Essays of Eugene P. Wigner.
  • Alvin M. Weinberg, Eugene P. Wigner Physical Theory of Neutron Chain Reactors
  • Eugene Paul Wigner, et al. Philosophical Reflections and Syntheses

See also

The Wigner semicircle distribution, named after the physicist Eugene Wigner, is the probability distribution supported on the interval [−R, R] the graph of whose probability density function f is a semicircle of radius R centered at (0, 0) and then suitably normalized (so that it is really a semi-ellipse... The Wigner quasi-probability distribution was introduced by Eugene Wigner in 1932 to study quantum corrections to classical statistical mechanics. ... There is a natural connection, first discovered by Eugene Wigner, between the properties of particles, the representation theory of Lie groups and Lie algebras, and the symmetries of the universe. ...

External links

The MacTutor history of mathematics archive is a website hosted by University of St Andrews in Scotland. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Eugene Wigner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (889 words)
Eugene Paul Wigner (Hungarian Wigner Pál Jenő) (November 17, 1902 – January 1, 1995) was a Hungarian physicist and mathematician who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 "for his contributions to the theory of the atomic nucleus and the elementary particles, particularly through the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles".
Wigner was sometimes referred to as the Silent Genius as some of his contemporaries considered him the intellectual equal to Einstein, without the prominence.
Wigner is famous for laying the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics as well as for his research into atomic nuclei, as well as for his several theorems.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m