University of Texas
Center for Particles and Fields

(Originally Center for Particle Theory)


Center for Particles and Fields


The Center for Particle Theory was established in 1968 with funds provided by the National Sciences Foundation. Harold Hanson, Tom Griffy and Alfred Schild recruited Yuval Ne'eman to come part-time to the Department of Physics. A center was established which included Ne'eman and Arno Bohm who had come from Syracuse University. Bohm urged the department to recruit George Sudarshan, also at Syracuse. Sudarshan agreed to come and requested an appointment for Austin M. Gleeson, a theorist in his group and who also was running George's program at Syracuse. Sudarshan and Gleeson came in 1969. Sudarshan brought his AEC funding and post-docs with him. The National Sciences foundation provided a number of Faculty Associates for the center. These included: Mike Simmons, Robert Yaes, Ron Parsons, John Campbell, Michael Grundzik, Arnold Lopez-Cepero and Robert Beck Clark.

Following the decision to build the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) in Texas, the department decided to hire some high energy experimentalist. Austin Gleeson was the University's SSC Committee Representative.

Timeline for Center for Particles and Fields

1967: Yuval Ne’eman joined the University of Texas faculty and held a concurrent appointment with Tel Aviv University.

1968: Center for Particle Theory established at University of Texas at Austin.

1968: Yuval Ne'eman appointed Director. Ne'eman had completed his PhD at Imperial College London under the supervision of Abdus Salam. In his thesis, he discovered the SU(3) symmetry theory of the hadrons. Due to other commitments, the thesis was completed in 1961 at the age 36. In 1963, he joined Gell-Mann at Caltech as a postdoctoral fellow. The discovery of the O-particle at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1964 established SU(3) symmetry and Ne'eman had many job offers. He was best known for the Eightfold Way classification of elementary particles, developed simultaneously with Murray Gell-Mann in the early 1960s. He died in 2006.

In 1968, Arno Bohm joined the Center. He was currently a research fellow at Syracuse University. Bohm has earned his Diploma and Doctorate from the Technical University in Berlin in 1966 with Günther Ludwig. From 1966–1968 he was at Syracuse University. Previous experience included research at Technical University at Karlsruhe, Germany and University of Marburg. Bohm's research interest includes: Group theoretical methods in particle physics, the idea of the spectrum generating group, relativistic spectrum generating group and relativistic collective models. Also research on the quantum geometric phase and foundations and applications in molecule physics. Work on the rigged Hilbert space formulation of quantum mechanics, with applications to decay and Golden Rule, time evolution semigroup, and irreversible quantum theory. Bohm retired 201?.

In 1969, George Sudarshan joined the Center. He was a professor of physics at Syracuse University. He was the originator (with Robert Marshak) of the V-A theory of the weak force (later propagated by Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann), which eventually paved the way for the electroweak theory. He also made important contributions to quantum optics.

In 1969, Austin M. Gleeson joined the Center. Gleeson had attended Drexel Universithy for his undergraduate studies. He earned a BS in 1960. He did his graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his PhD in 1965. Following his graduation, Gleeson joined the faculty of Syracuse University. Austin Gleeson was the chief adminstrator for the UT Center for Particle Physics for a number years. He later became department chair. His research interest included field theory of strong interactions, the physics of superdense matter and high energy acoustic sources. He retired in 2020.

In 1969, Sudarshan appointed Jagdish Mehra as special research associate in the center; he remained in that position until 1973. Mehra, born in India and educated in Switzerland, PhD in 1963, had been at Purdue University, U. of Maasachursetts and at IBM in Chicago. His interest was history of science, in particular quantum theory. In 1970, Helmut Rechenberg joined the center. He had done a diploma with Walther Gerlach and a PhD with Werner Heisenberg. Rechenberg and Sudarshan worked on dispersion relations. While at Texas, Rechenberg began a collaboration with Mehra. The two worked closely with Sudarshan and Ilya Prigogine. They later published a six-volume work, "The Historical Development of Quantum Theory". In 1973, Professor Prigogine appointed Mehra as Professor at the Solvay Institute in Brussels where he remained until 1988. Mehra served as UNESCO-Sir Julian Huxley Distinguished Professor of History of Science in Paris, and Trieste, Italy (1989-93), and was the Citadel Distinguished Professor of Physics in Charleston, South Carolina (1993-96). He also was Regent's Professor in the University of California at Irvine. He was professor of science and humanities at the University of Houston. Mehra died in Houston in 2008. Rechenberg, after leaving Texas in 1972, held positions in Geneva, Brussels, Krakow, Northwestern University and Kyoto. He became the curator of the Heisenberg Archives at the Max Planck Institute. He wrote many biographies of scientists, including Gerlach and Heisenberg. He died on November 10, 2016 in Munich, Germany.

L. Michael Simmons joined the Center and was appointed Assistant Professor. He later held important scientific and administrative positions at Los Alamos.

In 1971, Charles Chiu, a research fellow at Cal Tech joined the center. His interest was soft hadron physics, in particular, soft collision phenomena using multiple scattering models. Chiu continued in the center until his retirement. More details of his career can be found at Charles Chiu.

In 1973, Duane A. Dicus, from the University of Rochester, joined the center. Dicus had received his PhD from UCLA in 1968 and had postdocs at MIT from 1969-71 and Rochester from 1971-78.. His interests included, weak and electromagnetic interactions, chiral and gauge field theories and Regge poles. Dicus collaborated with a post-doc in the center, Nilendra G. Deshpande. Deshpande became a Professor of Physics at the University of Oregon. Dicus' research was supported by the Department of Energy from 1967-2018. The particle physics website, SPIRES, which lists papers and citations, includes 208 papers and 9,181 citations for Dicus. There are 22 papers with over 100 citations per paper. Dicus won a College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award in 2008. Dicus served as Director for a number of years. He remained in the Center until his retirement in 2020. He was selected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1987. His citation read, "For contributions to the theory of strong, weak, and electromagnetic interactions and applications to stellar, galactic, and cosmological astrophysics, including both calculation of complexity and discussions with insight. Nominated by: Division of Astrophysics"

In 1973, Nilendra G. Deshpande joined the Center as a visiting Associate Professor. He had a very productive year collaborating with Duane Dicus.
They looked at extending flavor group to include the charm quark in SU(4) framework. This was before the discovery of charm. They wrote a couple of very influential papers on the MIT bag model in collaboration with Ken Johnson from MIT. Despande also worked with George Sudarshan on a standard like model, but without explicit Higgs boson. After a long calculation, the theory turned out not to be renormalizable at two loops. Deshpande comments, "Duane put in all the hard work. We did get a preprint on this work." Deshpande was a classmate of Austin Gleeson from Penn. They played tennis every evening. After the year at Texas, Deshpande left for Poland on a NSF grant that George Sudarshan and Arno Bohm had. After six months, he went to Gothenberg for six months to work with Professor Jan Nielson, who was a student of George's. He next joined the physics faculty at the University of Oregon in 1975. He served as Head of Physics from 1992 to 1998 and Associate Dean in charge of Sciences from 1998 to 2001. He is now Professor Emeritus.

In 1988, Jack L. Ritchie joined the Center. At the time he was an Acting Assistant Professor at Stanford U. Ritche received his BS in physics at UT Austin in 1977. He did his graduate work at the University of Rochester, completing his PhD in 1984. His thesis work was on open charm production with hadron beams at Fermilab. He was at Stanford from 1984–1988. He was Senior Program Officer, Office of High Energy and Nuclear Physics, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy, 1999–2001. His research activites inclued: Measurement of anomalous magnetic moment of the muon at Fermilab, 2015; Neutrino oscillation studies in the MINOS+ experiment at Fermilab, 2011; Measurement of B-meson decays and related processes, including CP violation, in electron-positron collisions in the BABAR experiment using the PEP-II B-factory at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 2001; Rare decays of neutral long-lived kaons in experiments at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1984–1998. Ritchie later served as Chair of the UT Physics Department.

In 1991, Karol Lang, a high energy experimentalist and Acting Assistant Professor at Stanford, joined the Center. Karol earned his MS at the Universityo of Warsaw in 1979 and his PhD at the University of Rochester in 1985. Following graduation, Karol was appointed Research Physicist at the Institute for Nuclear Research, Warsaw, Poland. In 1985, he became a research associate at the Universiy of Rochester. In 1986, he became a research associate at Stanford University. Lang's research interest are experimental particle physics, high energy physics, neutrino physics, neutrinoless double beta decay, and particle detectors R&D.

In 2002, Josh Klein, high energy experimentalist studying neutrinos, joined the Center. He had been research assistant professor at the U. of Pennsylvania. Klein had received his PhD at Princeton with Val Fitch in 1968. While at Texas, Klein won a College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award in 2007. In 2008, he became an Associate Professor of Physics at U. of Pennsylvania. He was a leading team member for the SNO experiment known for “Solving the Solar Neutrino Problem” that resulted in a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics for Art McDonald in 2015. He is now the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Professor of Physics at Penn.

In 2006, the name of the Center was changed to Center for Particles and Fields to reflect the growing number of experimentalist.

In 2008, Professor Roy F. Schwitters was director of the SSC. With the assistance of the philantropist Peter O'Donnell, the department was able to provided Schwitteers with a Chair and a faculty appointment that did not require him to be on campus full-time. When the SSC program was terminated, Schwitters came to Austin. Schwitters had been a Professor of Physics at Harvard University. Schwitters earned his BS ' 66 and PhD '71 at MIT. He next joined the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center where he rose to the rank of Associate Professor before being appointed Professor at Harvard University. At Stanford he played a major role in the discovery of the J-Psi particle. At Harvard he supervised the construction of the 4,500 ton Collider Detector at at the Fermilab Tevatron accelerator in Batavia, IL. He remained at Harvard from 1979 to 1990. He became Director of the SSC Laboratory in 1989 and served in that position until the SSC closed in 1993. Schwitters was a high energy experimental physicist. Schwitters retired brom UT in 2020.

In 2006, Christina Markert, a high energy experimentalist, joined the center. She had graduated from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2002. using data obtained with the NA49 heavy ion experiment at the CERN SPS, and was as a postdoctoral research fellow at Yale University for three and a half years before becoming a senior research scientist at Kent State University. Her interest includes High Energy Nuclear Physics, ALICE experiment at the LHC, STAR and sPHENIX experiment at RHIC.

In 2012, Peter Onyisi, a high energy experimentalist, joined the center. There were 85 applicants for this position. Born to a Nigerian college professor and an American mother in the foreign service, Peter has been a citizen of the world. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy where he ran track. He also competed in two International Physics Olympiads, winning bronze and gold medal. In 2003 as an undergtaduate at the U. of Chicago, Peter received the LeRoy Apker Award for his undergraduate research searching for unknown particles in proton-antiproton collisions at the Fermilab Tevatron. He received his PhD from Cornell University in 2008 and was an Enrico Fermi Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago. His research interests includes experimental investigation of electroweak symmetry breaking and searches for new particles and interactions and computing with large datasets.

In 2015, Timothy R. Andeen Jr., a high energy experimentalist joined the center. He had earned a PhD at Northwestern University in 2008. His undergratuate work was at Gustavus Adolphys College. From 2008–2010 he held a particle physic fellowship at CERN. During 2010–2015, he was a Research Associate at Columbia U. His research includes: ATLAS experiment at the CERN LHC: Searches for new particles and precision measurements.; DØ Experiment at the Fermilab Tevatron: Precision measurement W boson mass.

Center Secretarial Staff:

Ingrid Huskey

Current description of Center:

The Center for Particle Theory, established in 1968 was renamed the Center for Particles and Fields in the Fall of 2006 to support both theoretical and experimental researchers in particle physics, nuclear/relativistic heavy ion physics, and allied fields (such as gravitation) and to foster a collegial environment and to facilitate interaction and communication in areas of common interest. The Center is involved in the neutrino and muon physics programs at Fermilab, the STAR experiment at RHIC at BNL, and the ATLAS and ALICE experiments at CERN. Members of the Center also pursue phenomenology of particle and relativistic heavy ion physics as well as more formal aspects of quantum physics and particle scattering. Applications of the tools and methods of experimental particle physics are being pursued through our work in Muon Tomography.

\Below is a photo album of those who have worked in the Center. If your picture is not here and you were in the Center, please send me a picture and details.

Email Mel Oakes


Center for Particles and Fields Album

Yuval Ne'eman
Arno Bohm
George Sudarshan
Austin Gleeson
Charles Chiu
Duane Dicus
Jack Ritchie
Karol Lang
Joshua Klein
Jagdish Mehra
Roy Schwitters
Christina Markert
Peter Onyisi
Tim Andeen, Jr.
Michael Simmons
Robert Beck Clark
Helmut Rechenberg
Robert Yaes
Michael Grundzik
Ron Parsons
Arnold Lopez-Cepero
Nilendra G. Deshpande
Rocky Kolb, PhD Student
Kalpana Kalanpur, PhD Student
Prashant Valanju, PhD Student
Mark S, Byrd, Phd Student
Tom Imbo, PhD Student
Scott Willenbrock, PhD Student