Sheldon Lee Glashow

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Sheldon Glashow at Harvard University

Sheldon Lee Glashow (born 5 December 1932) is an American physicist. He was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics (with colleagues Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg) for combining electromagnetism and the weak force into the electroweak force.


  • Why was there a Big Bang? What, if anything, came before? What mechanisms generated the exponential inflation of the early Universe? What are dark matter and dark energy, which dominate today's Universe? How did the first stars and galaxies form? Why are the fundamental constants of nature what they are? Must we depend on the Cosmic Anthropic Principle to 'answer' such questions? Is our Universe unique, or must we appeal to a Multiverse? What will be the ultimate fate of our Universe?
    • "Beyond Darwin: from the elements to the Universe." Contributions to Science (2009): 133-139 doi:10.2436/20.7010.01.68 (quote from p. 139)

The Charm of Physics (1991)

  • The color gauge theory postulates the existence of eight massless particles, sometimes called gluons, that are the carriers of the strong force just as the photon is the carrier of the electromagnetic force.
    • p. 151
  • Strong, weak and electromagnetic interaction are evidently part of a grand unified theory. These temperatures are today quite inaccessible. They were achieved only in the earliest moments of the Big Bang. Since then, the universe has congealed, losing its symmetry.
    • p. 244

From Alchemy to Quarks (1994)

  • ... If a distant galaxy is moving relative to us, its entire spectrum is Doppler-shifted in frequency. Its spectral lines are displaced relative to those of stationary light sources. Thanks to this effect, we know that distant galaxies recede from the solar system at speeds proportional to their distances from us. That's the effect that told us of the expanding universe, and of its birth, long ago, in the Big Bang.
    • p. 385

The Elegant Universe, NOVA Interview (2003)

  • ... Why is the muon, some dumb particle, 200 times heavier than the electron? Why is the proton about 2,000 times heavier than the electron? Why is the electric charge of the electron what it is? Why are there six quarks in nature? Why not seven or eleven or five? There are many, many "why" questions. Also a number of 'how' questions. What is the mechanism that causes the weak interactions to be weak and the electromagnetic interactions not weak?
  • All kinds of questions remain. Many have to do with cosmology. How did the universe originate? How did the galaxies become distributed in space like the suds in the kitchen sink, as one of my colleagues has described it? Why is the cosmological constant apparently very tiny but non-zero and has a peculiar value that leads the universe to expand more rapidly?
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