We present some biographical notes below, few of them taken from the Nobel Prize, Nikhef and Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings Web pages.
Martinus (Tini) Veltman was born in Waalwijk, in 1931, the fourth of six children. His father was a primary school headmaster and placed a great emphasis on education, but during WWII the invading German army took over the school to billet soldiers – lessons were improvised, sometimes taking place in a stable. Veltman graduated from high school in 1948, and went on to university at Utrecht, but with the staff decimated by war he found lessons dull. After five years (2 years longer than normal) he passed the candidaats exam. It was only then that he came across a book on Einstein’s theory of relativity, which belatedly inspired him. He returned to his studies with renewed vigour, breaking only for military service from 1958–59. His main studies were at Utrecht under Leon Van Hove, but to develop his interest in particle physics, Veltman took extra courses in Naples and Edinburgh.
In 1960, Van Hove became director of the theory division at CERN, the European High Energy laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. Veltman followed him in 1961, where he calculated Coulomb corrections for the CERN neutrino experiment as part of his PhD thesis, which he completed in 1963. Veltman continued to work on calculations for the neutrino experiment, and began writing a computer program to perform the lengthy number-crunching. In 1966, Veltman succeeded Van Hove as professor of physics at Utrecht, and it was there in 1969 that he teamed up with student Gerard ‘t Hooft.
It was at Utrecht that Veltman carried out his Nobel-prize-winning work. In the 1960s, Sheldon Glashow, Adbus Salam and Steven Weinberg unified the weak and electromagnetic interaction and predicted the existence of the W and Z bosons, which carry the electroweak force. This became known as the Weinberg-Salam theory and for their efforts the trio were awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize of Physics. Yet their theory had to be “renormalized” – in other words, the infinities in the theory needed to be removed — before it could predict the physical properties of these particles, such as their masses.
By analyzing what was known at the time as current algebra, Veltman made it clear that in theory the spin-1 particles had to comply with a Yang-Mills structure. In order to be able to perform a renormalization program like QED, he looked at alternative Feynman rules with unphysical scalar particles, so-called ghosts. On that basis Veltman was able to prove renormalization of the electro-weak theory to 1-loop. Finally, Gerard ‘t-Hooft proved that renormalization to all orders is possible if a new physical particle is introduced. A particle that is now known under the name Brout-Englert-Higgs-boson, discovered at CERN in 2012 and since Brout had passed away one year earlier, François Englert and Peter Higgs were awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize of Physics.
The breakthrough of Tini Veltman and Gerard ‘t-Hooft, one of the great moments in twentieth century physics, was finally awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1999 “for elucidating the quantum structure of electroweak interactions in physics.”
In 1980, Veltman spent a sabbatical year at the University of Michigan. He remained, promoted to the MacArthur chair, until he retired in 1997 and returned to the town of Bilthoven in the Netherlands with his wife Anneke (they married in 1960 and have three children). Asteroid 9492 Veltman is named in his honour.
We would like to join the sorrow of the whole particle physics community for the loss of Martinus Veltman. The memory of Tini Veltman will stay forever with us. We would like to express our deepest condolences to his family and in particular to his wife Anneke and daughter Helene.
On the scientific side let our colleagues from CERN talk about Jack Steinberger:
Jack Steinberger, born in the Bavarian town of Bad Kissingen on May 25, 1921, left Germany at the age of 13 to escape rising antisemitism and settled in the United States. He got a degree in chemistry from the U. Chicago and he turned inti physics working under tha guidance of Enrico Fermi investigating cosmic rays. His work on neutrino physics got him the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics, shared with Melvin Schwartz and Leon Lederman, for their 1962 discovery of the muon neutrino at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
In 1968, Jack joined CERN to work on CP violation experiments. In the 1970s, he went on to become a founding member of the CERN-Dortmund-Heidelberg-Saclay (CDHS) collaboration, which was later joined by a group from Warsaw and conducted neutrino scattering experiments in the West Experimental Area. Running from 1976 to 1984, CDHS produced a string of important results using neutrino beams to probe the structure of protons and neutrons. When the Large Electron-Positron Collider (LEP) was first proposed, a core group from CDHS joined with physicists from other institutions to develop a detector for CERN’s new flagship facility. This initiative grew into the ALEPH experiment, and Jack, with his great scientific curiosity and remarkable rigour, was the natural choice to become its first spokesperson in 1980, a position he held until 1990. The detector as a whole benefited from Jack’s charismatic leadership and clarity of mind. From the outset, he stipulated that standard solutions should be adopted across the whole detector as far as possible. Jack was also insistent that all solutions considered for the detector first had to be completely understood. As the LEP era got underway, this level of discipline paid dividends and was reflected in the results. In retirement, Jack continued to be a regular presence at CERN, contributing to the intellectual life of the Laboratory until well into his 90s, notably by returning to his interest in CP violation as an adviser to the NA31, NA48 and NA62 experiments.
Quoting Mikhail Shifman: "...Jack Steinberger was born in Germany from which his family managed to flee after Hitler's rise to power. His father was a cantor and religious teacher. Through his career as an experimental particle physicist, he held positions at the University of California, Berkeley, Columbia University (1950–68), and then CERN (1968–86). He was also a recipient of the United States National Medal of Science in 1988, and the Matteucci Medal from the Italian Academy of Sciences in 1990... In 1949, Jack Steinberger, then a graduate student, calculated in his PhD a Feynman graph for two-photon decay of neutral pion in the pion-nucleon theory (the only one known in this time and suitable for this process). With the γ5 vertex his result was in excellent agreement with experiment. However, with γμ γ5 vertex it failed. As we know now, the failure was due to the chiral anomaly. Frustrated with this puzzle Steinberger left theory and switched to experiment, in which he managed to ascend to the very top..."
Even better, let Jack Steinberger tell us his life story in his autobiography in the Nobel Prize Committee pages.
From our side we would like to add, to so many others, our deep sorrow of the loss of such a great personality. The memory of Jack Steinberger will stay forever with us. We would like to express our deepest condolences to his family.
John Madore was born in Saskatchewan of Canada on 17th June 1938. John started his university studies at the University of Toronto and then he continued in Hamburg for a couple of years before going to France, where he spent most of his academic life as CNRS researcher at Paris University XI, Orsay.
John and Geneviève Madore were married in 1970, few years after John's arrival in France and they have a son, David, who is mathematician. They were a very nice family till the end.
Among the first scientists whom John met in Paris were Lucette Defrise and her husband Brandon Carter and they established a long friendship. Richard Kerner recalls the common first steps in France with John (John arrived in 1967 and Richard in 1968, a year later): "We almost immediately started to discuss about General Relativity, Field Theory, etc. These were the times when we used to meet with Achille Papapetrou, André Lichnerowicz, Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat, Marie-Antoinette Tonnelat, Lluis Bel and many other French and foreign Relativists. There were at least two regular seminars where we used to meet...".
Achille Papapetrou was John Madore's doctor thesis advisor on General Relativity. A couple of characteristic papers of that period are: Commun. Math. Phys. 27 (1972) 291, Commun. Math. Phys. 30 (1973) 335. Nathalie Deruelle is another collaborator and close friend of John, and she co-authored at least three nice gravitation papers with him in the eighties. A more recent one is the gr-qc/0305004.
John wrote some interesting papers on Elementary Particle Physics and in particular he studied Yang Mills theories and classical solutions. Some representative ones are the following: Commun. Math. Phys. 56 (1977) 115, Gen. Rel. Grav. 8 (1977) 655, Phys. Rev. D 15 (1977) 514, Phys. Rev. D 18 (1978) 2788, Phys. Rev. D 17 (1978) 562. John also wrote very interesting papers on geometrical methods in field theory, mathematical physics, cosmology and Kaluza-Klein Theory, such as: Phys. Rept. 49 (1979) 113, Phys. Rept. 75 (1981) 125.
In 1988 John started publishing on noncommutative geometry. John's very fruitful collaboration with Michel Dubois-Violette and Richard Kerner resulted to some pioneering papers on noncommutativity: Phys.Lett. B217 (1989) 485, Class. Quant. Grav. 6 (1989) 1709, J. Math. Phys. 31 (1990) 316, J. Math. Phys. 31 (1991) 323.
Then John wrote the paper on the Fuzzy Sphere, which made him famous in a very wide scientific audience: Class. Quant. Grav. 9 (1992) 69. Harald Grosse, another leading figure in the field of Noncommutativity, recalls: "My personal interaction with John started in 1992. I learned about the Fuzzy sphere (after a talk in Orsay) and I was fascinated to use noncommutativity as a regulator for QFT and within a short time we published together the paper: Phys.Lett. B283 (1992) 218".
Another cornerstone in the subsequent development of the field of Noncommutativity and the basis that inspired John's new collaborations was the publication of his book: An Introduction to Noncommutative Differential Geometry and its Physical Applications (London Mathematical Society Lecture Note Series) Cambridge University Press, 1995
During the next years, John became the leading senior advisor in the large group of Julius Wess working on Noncommutativity in Munich (LMU and MPI). Numerous new friends and collaborations emerged during the next years and John was the main speaker in all the Workshops, Conferences and Schools on Noncommutativity. An excellent paper written in that period, which attracted in the field also several scientists from the particle physics community, is the Eur.Phys.J. C16 (2000) 161.
Being the central figure of the scientific activity in the field of Noncommutativity certainly was not limited to Paris or Munich. John was traveling everywhere, to Toronto, Potsdam, London, Cambridge, USA, Bologna, Athens, Corfu, Vienna, Prague, Belgrade, India ..., building new collaborations, making new friends and teaching young scientists the emerging new scientific field.
It is hard to refer to all of John's publications after this period in detail. John wrote more than 128 scientific papers that were cited several thousand times (his book only is cited more than 900 times). It is fair to mention also his other collaborators (here in alphabetic order): Aschieri Paolo, Buric Maja, Cerchiai Bianca Letizia, Cho S, Chu Chong-Sun, Deruelle Nathalie, Dimakis Aristophanes, Douzas George, Dubois-Violette Michel, Duff Michael,Fiore Gaetano, Georgelin Yves, Grammatikopoulos Theodore, Grosse Harald, Forrester Peter , Heller Michal, Hinterding R, Jancovici Bernard, Kastler Daniel, Kehagias Alexandros, Kerner Richard, Lambert D, Landi Giovanni, Maceda Marco, Manousselis Pantelis, Masson Thierry, Mourad Jihad, Nenadovic Luka, Park K S, Richard Jean-Louis, Robinson David, Saeger Luiz Augusto, Schraml Stefan, Schupp Peter, Sitarz Andrzej, Steinacker Harold, Stora Raymond Felix, Wess Julius, Zoupanos George. His collaboration with our friend Maja Buric stands out, because it was the reason for several other scientists to start working in the field.
In short, John Madore was a great scientist and an excellent personality and all his friends, collaborators and students will remember him forever with great respect and love!
The Corfu Institute (EISA) has benefited a lot! by John's scientific contributions in its scientific meetings and will dedicate the next Workshop on Noncommutativity to honour his memory. Close collaborators of John, like Gaetano Fiore, Harold Steinacker, Andrzej Sitarz, Bianca Cerchiai, Paolo Aschieri, Aristophanes Dimakis, Peter Schupp, George Zoupanos, students as Jihad Mourad, Marco Maceda who were not mentioned specifically here, but who have a lot to say about John, and many others with whom John was discussing for years scientific issues which though did not lead to a common publication, will have the opportunity to talk about John Madore as scientist and person. Finally it might sound personal, but it is better to be added, that Geneviève Madore in her last mesage said: "When John was in the hospital in June, he told me that he wanted to go to Corfou once more... His trips to Corfou and Athens, the meetings with you and all his colleagues were so important and joyful for him !!!". All friends, collaborators and students of John are invited to contribute so that John Madore's memory stay for ever with us!
We would like to express our deepest, heartfelt condolences to John's family, and in particular to his wife Geneviève and his son David.
Prof. Alfonso Mondragón died on June 8, 2020. Born in 1932, he was a nuclear and mathematical physicist by training, who made important contributions in both fields. He was also a pioneer of particle physics in Mexico, where he became one of the first specialists in hadronic and flavour physics. He studied his first degree in Mexico at UNAM, under the supervision of Marcos Moshinsky. He then went on to do a Ph.D. to Birmingham University under the supervision of Sir Rudolf Peierls. He graduated in 1960 and became the seventh mexican physicist to hold a doctorate. He returned to Mexico in 1961 and worked uninterruptedly at the Instituto de Fisica (UNAM), almost until the end of his life. On his return to Mexico, he devoted a great amount of his time to train new generations of physicists, to strengthen and develop further the Faculty of Sciences and the postgraduate studies, and to open new fields of research. His interests in physics were very wide and ranged from very theoretical aspects, like non-Hermitian quantum mechanics, to patents in nuclear chemistry. He was instrumental in creating a particle physics group at the Instituto de Fisica at UNAM. His work was recognized internationally and he maintained personal and professional contacts to many colleagues world-wide. He was also a beloved and respected teacher, whose students can be found in many universities and physics institutes in Mexico. We would like to express our deepest, hearty condolences to Alfoso's family and assure them that his memory will stay for ever with us!
Roberto was an outstanding physicist a charismatic figure of our community, and a source of inspiration for several generations of theoretical physicists. Roberto has had great influence on theoretical physics by creating some of the most successful research groups in the world, first at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, then at DESY, where he headed the Theory Group, and finally at the UCLA where he also held the position of Vice Chancellor for Research. Among his many contributions to theoretical physics, the most famous is the solution of the strong CP problem done together with Helen Quinn, for which they were awarded the Sakurai Prize in 2013.
Roberto participated in the early Corfu Meetings in the '80s as a lecturer. Roberto's presence in the early Corfu Schools and Workshops was of great importance for their success and in establishing them internationally. EISA mourns the passing of Roberto Peccei together with all his numerous friends, students and colleagues, while our thoughts are with his family and close friends to whom we would like to express our deepest condolences.
Nikos offered all of the above characteristics of his personality with great generosity to all the academic institutions that he has served: the NCSR Demokritos, the University of Athens and the University of Cyprus. He has has been an important part of the Corfu scientific activities since their beginning in 1981. Besides his scientific contributions, he was the one that, as the Director of NCSR Demokritos, managed to secure critical funding that made those meetings possible. And for that, we all at the EISA wish to express our gratitude. In addition, he contributed the outmost to the Greek Particle Physics Community during his terms as the Scientific Director of the NCSR Demokritos, as the President of the Greek Physical Society and as the representative of Greece to the CERN Council.
Nikos Antoniou did pioneering work in Quantum Chromodynamics at finite temperature and density. He was the first, worldwide, who suggested to look for imprints of fractal geometry in momentum space as a signature of the chiral critical point and connected it with finite size scaling. His ideas influenced significantly the search for the QCD critical point in NA49 and NA61 experiments at CERN.
We will always remember Nikos Antoniou as a wise and dedicated academic personality, with a very broad and deep knowledge extending far beyond his research interests, and as a sweet person ready to share his knowledge and experience generously with everyone close to him, especially with the young scientists.