What are Steven Weinberg's contributions to physics other than the Nobel-winning work on electroweak unification? Why is he so famous and respected among particle physicists compared to other Nobel laureates?


2 Answers 2


According to this page, Steven Weinberg also worked in plasma physics and other fields within particle physics. The same page mentions the following:

Though his Nobel Prize was for work in unification, Weinberg made significant contributions in a wide range of areas in particle physics and even in plasma physics. Among colleagues he was known more for versatility than for mathematical strength.

In an interview, he mentioned that he also wrote a book about cosmology and gravitation. Here is an excerpt of the interview:

It was just amusing to me that at a time when I was deeply involved in the late 1960s in exploring the implications of broken symmetries for elementary particle physics an example like this would crop up in plasma physics, it didn't affect what I did in elementary particle physics. I don't think the JASON work had much effect on my work in elementary particle physics, but it did have a big effect on my work, such as it is, in cosmology and in writing my book about gravitation and cosmology. Because, you know, for example, in an article I wrote in 1977 Ben Lee and I solved the Boltzmann equation in a situation where you have heavy neutrinos colliding and gradually disappearing. And I wouldn't have known what the Boltzmann equation was if it hadn't been for JASON.

I hope this helps.


You make it sound as though Stephen Weinberg's work on unifying the electromagnetic force with the weak force was a piece of cake and hardly worth winning the Nobel prize along with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Lee Glashow in 1979.

Is that not enough?

Abdus Salam was known for also pioneering supersymmetry and also for establishing the Trieste Centre of Physics to help develop the physics in the developing countries.

Along with James Bjorken, Sheldon Glashow predicted the existemce of a fourth quark, the charmed quark. Also along with Howard Georgi, he came up with first example of a grand unified theory.

Weinberg is known for pioneering renormalisation methods in physics and also the one example of a prediction based on the anthropic principle that worked, the anthropic bound on the cosmological constant.

  • $\begingroup$ I never said his work on EW unification is not worth the Nobel prize. I don't know where did you get that impression from. I too have high regards for Weinberg. I am asking that many people have won Nobel prizes and among them, I think, he is more famous than others. Perhaps he wrote three authoritative volumes of QFT which also earned him some of the respect. All I wanted to know what are other contributions of him to physics. Surely, electroweak unificication is the grandest of his contributions cannot be the only one. $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2021 at 12:27

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