Biography:Roy J. Glauber

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Short description: American theoretical physicist (1925–2018)
Roy J. Glauber
Roy Glauber.jpg
Glauber in 2012
Roy Jay Glauber

(1925-09-01)September 1, 1925
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 26, 2018(2018-12-26) (aged 93)
Newton, Massachusetts, U.S.
EducationHarvard University (AB, PhD)
Known forInventing Quantum Optics
Orders of coherence
Glauber states
Glauber dynamics
Glauber–Sudarshan P representation
Cynthia Rich b.1933
(m. 1960; div. 1975)
Children2: Jeffrey and Valerie [2]
  • Nobel Prize in Physics (2005)
  • Heineman Prize (1996)
  • ForMemRS (1997)[3]
  • Humboldt Prize (1989)
  • Racah Lecture (1988)
  • Max Born Award (1985)
  • Albert A. Michelson Medal (1985)
  • Guggenheim Fellowship (1957)
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical Physics
ThesisThe relativistic theory of meson fields (1949)
Doctoral advisorJulian Schwinger[4]
Doctoral students

Roy Jay Glauber (September 1, 1925 – December 26, 2018) was an American theoretical physicist. He was the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University and Adjunct Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. Born in New York City, he was awarded one half of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence", with the other half shared by John L. Hall and Theodor W. Hänsch. In this work, published in 1963, he created a model for photodetection and explained the fundamental characteristics of different types of light, such as laser light (see coherent state) and light from light bulbs (see blackbody). His theories are widely used in the field of quantum optics.[6][7] In statistical physics he pioneered the study of the dynamics of first-order phase transitions, since he first defined and investigated the stochastic dynamics of an Ising model in a paper published in 1963.[8] He served on the National Advisory Board[9] of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, the research arms of Council for a Livable World.


Glauber was born in 1925 in New York City, the son of Felicia (Fox) and Emanuel B. Glauber.[10] He was a member of the 1941 graduating class of the Bronx High School of Science, the first graduating class from that school. He then went on to do his undergraduate work at Harvard University. After his sophomore year he was recruited to work on the Manhattan Project, where (at the age of 18) he was one of the youngest scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His work involved calculating the critical mass for the atom bomb. After two years at Los Alamos, he returned to Harvard, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1946 and his PhD in 1949.[11]


Glauber's recent research dealt with problems in a number of areas of quantum optics, a field which, broadly speaking, studies the quantum electrodynamical interactions of light and matter. He also continued work on several topics in high-energy collision theory, including the analysis of hadron collisions, and the statistical correlation of particles produced in high-energy reactions.[citation needed]

Specific topics of his research included: the quantum mechanical behavior of trapped wave packets; interactions of light with trapped ions; atom counting-the statistical properties of free atom beams and their measurement; algebraic methods for dealing with fermion statistics; coherence and correlations of bosonic atoms near the Bose–Einstein condensation; the theory of continuously monitored photon counting-and its reaction on quantum sources; the fundamental nature of "quantum jumps"; resonant transport of particles produced multiply in high-energy collisions; the multiple diffraction model of proton-proton and proton-antiproton scattering.[citation needed]

Awards and honors

Glauber received the Albert A. Michelson Medal from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia (1985),[12] the Max Born Award from the Optical Society of America (1985), the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics from the American Physical Society (1996), and the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics Glauber was awarded the 'Medalla de Oro del CSIC' ('CSIC's Gold Medal') in a ceremony held in Madrid, Spain.[13] He was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1997.[3]

After Glauber was selected for the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2005, a University of Texas at Austin Physics Professor, George Sudarshan, claimed that he had been overlooked by the Nobel Prize Committee for the award, having published some of the earliest papers on quantum optics. Glauber, a theorist, was awarded half the prize, along with physics experimenters John Hall and Theodor Hänsch, recognized for their work on precision spectroscopy.[14][15][16]

Ig Nobel

For many years before winning his Nobel Prize, Glauber took part in the Ig Nobel Prize ceremonies, where he appeared each year as "Keeper of the Broom," sweeping the stage clean of the paper airplanes that have traditionally been thrown during the event. He missed the 2005 event as he was being awarded his real Nobel Prize for Physics.[17][18]

Personal life

Glauber lived in Arlington, Massachusetts. He was a guest scientist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 1967, during a sabbatical.[1] In 1951, he became a temporary lecturer at the California Institute of Technology, where he replaced Richard Feynman.[19][20]

Glauber had a son and a daughter, and five grandchildren. He died on December 26, 2018, in Newton, Massachusetts. He was buried in Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York.[21][22][23]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Glauber, Roy J.. "Roy J. Glauber - Biographical". The Nobel Prize. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Fellows of the Royal Society". London: Royal Society. 
  4. Roy J. Glauber at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. Knight, Peter; Milburn, Gerard J. (2015). "Daniel Frank Walls FRSNZ. 13 September 1942 — 12 May 1999". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society (Royal Society publishing) 61: 531–540. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2014.0019. ISSN 0080-4606. 
  6. Glauber, Roy (2009). "An interview with Nobel laureate Roy Glauber, Physics 2005". Journal of Visualized Experiments (28): 1535. doi:10.3791/1535. ISSN 1940-087X. PMID 19561567. 
  7. R. J. Glauber, Quantum Theory of Optical Coherence. Selected Papers and Lectures, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2007. (A collection of reprints of Glauber's most important papers from 1963 to 1999, selected by the author.)
  8. Glauber, R.J. (1963). "Time‐dependent statistics of the Ising model". Journal of Mathematical Physics 4 (2): 294–307. doi:10.1063/1.1703954. Bibcode1963JMP.....4..294G. 
  9. "Board". Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferatio. 
  10. Debus, Allen G. (6 January 1968). "World Who's who in Science: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Scientists from Antiquity to the Present". Marquis-Who's Who. 
  11. Glauber, Roy Jay (1949). The relativistic theory of meson fields (PhD thesis). Harvard University. Bibcode:1949PhDT.........7G. OCLC 76985581.
  12. "Roy J. Glauber, Physics (1985)". Franklin Institute. 15 January 2014. 
  13. "Nota informativa acto de entrega de la medalla de Oro del CSIC al profesor Roy J. Glauber". 
  14. "Roy J. Glauber, 93, Dies; Nobel Laureate Explored Behavior of Light (Published 2019)" (in en). 2019-01-08.,Atholie%20Rosett;%20and%20five%20grandchildren. 
  15. "Nobel Doubts" (in en). 
  16. "The Nobel Prize in Physics 2005" (in en-US). 
  17. Abrahams, Marc (2018-12-28). "Sad news: Roy Glauber, paper airplane sweeper and physicist of light, is gone" (in en-US). 
  18. Abrahams, Marc (2018-12-28). "Sad news: Roy Glauber, paper airplane sweeper and physicist of light, is gone" (in en-US). 
  19. "The Nobel Prize in Physics 2005" (in en-US). 
  20. "Glauber, Roy J., 1925-". 
  21. McClain, Dylan (January 8, 2019). "Roy J. Glauber, 93, Dies; Nobel Laureate Explored Behavior of Light". The New York Times. 
  22. "In Memoriam: Roy J. Glauber, 1925-2018". 
  23. Weil, Martin (December 30, 2018). "Roy Glauber, Nobel-winning physicist who applied quantum mechanics to optics, dies at 93". The Washington Post. 

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