Michael Creutz, a physicist at the U.S.
Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, has received a Humboldt
Research Award, which will allow him to spend up to one year working on a long-term
research project with specialist colleagues at a research institution in Germany.
The Humboldt Foundation grants up to 100 of the awards annually to researchers
whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant
impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge
achievements in the future.
“Starting in the fall, I plan on spending several two-month periods at
the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz to pursue research for an expanded understanding
of the properties of quarks,” Creutz said. “I am pleased to have
this opportunity to interact with colleagues in Germany, who will provide a
different way of thinking about my work. The experience will be very broadening
Michael Creutz’s research is focused on quantum chromodynamics (QCD),
a theory that describes the interactions of subnuclear particles. Specifically,
Creutz first demonstrated that properties of QCD could be computed numerically
on a four-dimensional lattice through computer-based calculations known as Monte
In one of the most cited papers of 1980, which was published in the journal
Physical Review, Creutz provided strong numerical evidence that quarks cannot
be isolated, thus confirming this conjectured property of QCD. He found that
the force between widely separated quarks, which is equal to 14 tons, did not
decrease as the quarks move farther apart.
With his colleagues in Germany, Creutz will study the interplay of the lattice
with another complementary technique called chiral symmetry to gain further
understanding of the physics of quarks. Creutz will investigate how certain
quantum mechanical anomalies give rise to an apparent clash between these techniques
and how this is resolved as the lattice becomes finer. Such information is important
for physicists to interpret new findings in experiments at accelerators such
as Brookhaven's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and the Large Hadron Collider
at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
Michael Creutz earned a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology
in 1966, and a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University in 1970. He was a postdoctoral
fellow at the Center for Theoretical Physics at the University of Maryland before
he joined Brookhaven Lab in 1972 as an assistant physicist. He rose through
the ranks to become a senior physicist in 1980.
A fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), Creutz received the APS’s
Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics in 2000. He also received the
Brookhaven Research & Development Award in 1991 and the Andrew Sobczk Memorial
Lectureship from Clemson University in 1997. In 2008, he was honored with the
Gian Carlo Wick Gold Medal Award from the World Federation of Scientists for
outstanding contributions to particle physics.