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Murray Gell-Mann

Murray Gell-Mann is a Distinguished Fellow of the Santa Fe Institute, and author of the popular science book, The Quark and the Jaguar, Adventures in the Simple and the Complex.

In 1969, Professor Gell-Mann received the Nobel Prize in physics for his work on the theory of elementary particles. Professor Gell-Mann's "eightfold way" theory brought order to the chaos created by the discovery of some 100 particles in the atom's nucleus. Then he found that all of those particles, including the neutron and proton, are composed of fundamental building blocks that he named "quarks." The quarks are permanently confined by forces coming from the exchange of "gluons." He and others later constructed the quantum field theory of quarks and gluons, called "quantum chromodynamics," which seems to account for all the nuclear particles and their strong interactions.

Besides being a Nobel laureate, Professor Gell-Mann has received the Ernest O. Lawrence Memorial Award of the Atomic Energy Commission, the Franklin Medal of the Franklin Institute, the Research Corporation Award, and the John J. Carty medal of the National Academy of Sciences. He has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from many institutions, including Yale University, the University of Chicago, the University of Turin, Italy, and Cambridge and Oxford Universities. In 1988 he was listed on the United Nations Environmental Program Roll of Honor for Environmental Achievement (the Global 500). He also shared the 1989 Erice "Science For Peace" Prize. In 1994 he received an honorary Doctorate of Natural Resources from the University of Florida.

Professor Gell-Mann is the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, where he taught from 1955 until 1993. He was a director of the J.D. and C.T. MacArthur Foundation from 1979 - 2002. He is currently a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the board of the Wildlife Conservation Society. He is a former Citizen Regent of the Smithsonian, 1974-1988, and a former member of the President's Science Advisory Committee, 1969-1972. He also served on the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology from 1994 - 2001. He is a Director of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, Inc. and Aerovironment, Inc.

Although he is a theoretical physicist, Professor Gell-Mann's interests extend to many other subjects, including natural history, historical linguistics, archaeology, history, depth psychology, and creative thinking, all subjects connected with biological evolution, cultural evolution, and learning and thinking. He is also concerned about policy matters related to world environmental quality (including conservation of biological diversity), restraint in population growth, sustainable economic development, and stability of the world political system. His recent research at the Santa Fe Institute has focused on the subject of complex adaptive systems, which brings all these areas of study together. He is also concerned with how knowledge and understanding are to be extracted from the welter of "information" that can now be transmitted and stored as a result of the digital revolution. Professor Gell-Mann is spearheading the Evolution of Human Languages Program at the Santa Fe Institute. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and teaches a physics seminar each year at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Murray Gell-Mann's bookplate was designed by Prof. Gell-Mann and Linda McManus.
Copyright 1992; all rights reserved.

Revised May 18 2004