Nobel Laureate Sheldon Glashow to Join Boston University Faculty Renowned Physicist Named First Metcalf Professor of Science

in College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, News Releases, Science & Technology
April 13th, 2000

Contact: Joan Schwartz, |

(Boston, Mass.) – Boston University President Jon Westling today announced that the distinguished theoretical physicist Sheldon Lee Glashow will join the faculty of Boston University in July 2000 as the first Arthur G. B. Metcalf Professor of Science. A path-breaking expert in elementary particle theory and cosmology, he will hold joint appointments as a University Professor and as a Professor of Physics.

Glashow shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg for discovering how at least two of the four forces of nature, electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force, arise from a unified theory and were identical when the universe was very young and very hot. This theory underlies all of particle physics and provides a framework for understanding how the early universe evolved and how the chemical elements were created.

Sheldon Lee Glashow, Nobel laureate in Physics and newly appointed Arthur G. B. Metcalf Professor of Science, is pictured in front of “Explosion,” a metal sculpture by Sergio Castillo that was inspired by Glashow’s ground-breaking work in particle physics.
(photo credit: B.U. Photo Services)

The Glashow/Salam/Weinberg work led to the Standard Model of Particle Physics, which offers a seemingly correct and consistent description of all observed phenomena in the microworld.

“Glashow’s work has been instrumental in our understanding of how our universe came into being,” says Lawrence R. Sulak, chairman of the Boston University physics department. “In the years since winning the Prize, Glashow has helped develop the Grand Unified Theory of all particles and all forces. Its predictions led to the construction of massive underground detectors, the refinement of the unification models, the first observation of neutrinos from a supernova, and the recent discovery that neutrinos have mass. Glashow has fueled an ongoing search for rare events and exotic effects that may shed further light on the evolution of the early universe.”

Glashow, a member of the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a foreign member of the Russian and Korean Academies of Science, has been the Higgins Professor of Physics at Harvard University since 1979. Since 1984, he has been affiliated with Boston University as Distinguished Scientist.

“I am delighted to be joining the vital and productive group of physicists at Boston University,” said Glashow. “The BU Physics department enjoys a higher level of funding per faculty member and a higher citation level than many top-rated departments in the nation. In the last decade over 35 national awards have honored this talented young faculty, which includes the leaders of five major research endeavors dear to my heart.”

A department’s citation level is a measure of how often the research of its members is used by other scholars as a basis for their own research. It is regarded as an objective measure of the true importance of the research.

According to Boston University Chancellor John Silber, Glashow has been instrumental in shaping BU’s Department of Physics. “In 1984, Sheldon Glashow told me of the availability of five brilliant young experimentalists with the potential to win Nobel Prizes, a group led by Lawrence Sulak. With the support of our Trustees, I recruited them. Their experimental searches are deeply intertwined with Glashow’s theories. As an intellectual team they first conceived and built the IMB experiment under Lake Erie to test the theory of Grand Unification, and later enhanced its capabilities so that it not only became the first neutrino telescope but also pushed the limits of the Standard Model. That early collaboration of theory and experiment led to the discovery of neutrinos from a supernova and to the first hints of the neutrino mass. Very recently, data from the successor detector in Japan has produced the first solid evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model.”

“Glashow has been the group’s mentor and guide as Boston University’s program in particle physics has moved from strength to strength. At last, we have realized our long-cherished hope that Sheldon Glashow would come to Boston University full-time. We are pleased and honored to welcome him as our colleague.”

The Board of Trustees of Boston University created the Arthur G. B. Metcalf Professorship in Science in appreciation for the leadership of the late Arthur G. B. Metcalf. A 1935 graduate of the University, Metcalf was a pioneering educator, aviator, inventor, industrialist and philanthropist. He served on the Board of Trustees of Boston University for 41 years, 18 of them as Chairman, and he has been one of the University’s principal benefactors.

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