Hawking's successor

Not open for further replies.


Now that Stephen Hawking has retired from the Lucasian Chair at Cambridge and moved on to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada his replacement has been named: string theorist Michael Green.

String theory @ Wiki...

Physics World link....

Green is currently the John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Theoretical Physics at Cambridge, a position he had held since 1993. Green obtained his BA and PhD from Cambridge and later spent time as a postdoc at Princeton, Cambridge and the University of Oxford. In 1978 he then joined Queen Mary, University of London before heading back to Cambridge in 1993.

The Lucasian chair was created in 1663 as a result of a gift from the then Member of Parliament for the university, Henry Lucas. Green is the 18th person to hold the chair and follows a long line of influential figures including Issac Newton, who held the post from 1669 to 1702, and Paul Dirac, who was Lucasian professor form 1932 to 1969. Hawking stepped down from the position last month as the post must be vacated when the holder is 67, according to Cambridge rules.

Green, a fellow of the Royal Society, is regarded as one of the founding fathers of string theory. In 1984, in what is deemed the first superstring revolution, he developed the Green--Schwarz mechanism – a major discovery that led to the realisation that strong theory could describe all the elementary particles and the interactions between them -- together with John Schwartz from the California Institute of Technology. String theory became the first theory in physics to predict the number of space–time dimensions and in 1984 went from being a fringe activity to mainstream theoretical physics

Green has been awarded the Dirac and Maxwell Medals of the Institute of Physics, UK, and the Dirac Medal from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy.

Green takes up the position of Lucasian professor on 1 November.


Hey Doc, that was an interesting tidbit, don't know why, just struck a nerve and got me thinking. It made me think how time and change are certain. We go from Hawking, who loved black holes, and was more of an astrophysicist, and did not see too much in string theory, to Green, who is the father of string theory. Interesting note on Newton who held the chair as well. One thing for certain, all three mentioned are treasures to the scientific community...............al

I must now go investigate as to whomever else held the chair, out of curiosity.........a little knowledge is dangerous,
see what you did!


There's been a rather interesting mix, actually, including Charles Babbage (who's best known for his work in early computer science), Paul Dirac (one of the early fathers of quantum mechanics), and George Stokes, who is best known (to me, at least!) for his contribution to the mathematics of physics. The Lucasian Chair is actually a mathematics professorship, technically, so it's the most math-heavy physicists who tend to get the job.
Not open for further replies.


Latest posts