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Three Scientists, Two Jewish and One Moslem, Win Nobel Prize

October 16, 1979
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Two physicists, one the son and the other the grandson of Jewish immigrants, today became the third generation of Jewish professors at Harvard University to win the Nobel Prize for achievements in their specialized field. Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg who were classmates in their high school and college days and now teach at Harvard, will share the $193,000 award with a Moslem scientist from Pakistan, Abdus Salam. The three scientists have been friends for years.

The Royal Academy in Stockholm announced the awards yesterday for their work in the electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles. In announcing the awards, the Academy said the contributions of Glashow, Weinberg and Salam were of great importance to the development of particle physics during the 1970s.

Glashow and Weinberg, both 46 years of age, were born in New York City. Glashow is the son of Lewis Glashow and the former Bella Rubin who immigrated to the U.S. from Bobruisk in White Russia in 1905. Weinberg’s father, Frederick Weinberg, was born in New York and his mother, the former Eva Israel, was born in Germany. His grandparents came from Rumania. Salam is the director of the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy and a professor of theoretical physics at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London. The three will have a reunion when the Nobel awards are presented in Stockholm.

I.I. Rabi, the noted nuclear physicist, was the first of three generations of Jewish professors of Harvard to win the Nobel Prize. His protege, Prof. Julian Schwinger, who won his Nobel Prize in 1965, was the second. Weinberg succeeded Schwinger at Harvard when the latter retired in 1973. Rabi sent messages of congratulations to Glashow and Weinberg today.

Glashow presently leaches physics at the Lyman Laboratory at Harvard and Weinberg is a Higgins Professor of Physics at Harvard. Glashow is a member of Temple Israel in Boston where three of his four children attend the Hebrew school. Both scientists spoke at the Einstein Centennial Symposium in Jerusalem last spring. Weinberg also delivered the De Shalit Memorial Lecture at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

A telephone interview with the two scientists by the Jewish Telegraphic. Agency today elicited information about their closely parallel careers. Both attended the Bronx High School of Science at the same time and were also classmates at Cornell University. Glashow recalled today that he was not a Phi Beta Kappa and, in fact, was refused admission to Harvard as an undergraduate because he had failed his high school physics course. Later, however, he was admitted to Harvard graduate school.

Weinberg did his graduate work at Princeton and later taught at Columbia University, the University of California at Berkeley and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The two scientists renewed their association at Harvard six years ago.


The Royal Academy in Stockholm also announced today that Prof. Herbert C. Brown, who holds the title of R.B. Wetherill Research Professor at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, has been awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of baron-and phosphorus-containing compounds as important reagents in organic synthesis. Brown, who was identified to the JTA by a university spokesperson as considering himself “a non-Orthodox Jew,” is sharing the Prize with Prof. George Wittig of the University of Heidelberg, West Germany.

Brown, a member of the Board of Academic Governors of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, came to this country from England in 1912. He received a B.S. degree in 1936 and a Ph. D. degree in 1938, both from the University of Chicago. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1957. Among the many other major awards Brown has received are: The Nichols Medal, the Linus Pauling Medal and the National Medal of Science.

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