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From the College of Natural Sciences

Mourning the Loss of Professor Steven Weinberg

The interim dean alerted faculty, staff and students about the passing of world-changing scientist and Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg.

I write with sad news of the death of Professor Steven Weinberg, the Jack S. Josey – Welch Foundation Chair in Science in our Departments of Physics and Astronomy.

In discovering the electroweak force that unites the fundamentals of electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force, Steve established a critical pillar of the Standard Model of particle physics. It was a transformative advance for science. The world knew Steve as one of the most important thinkers in particle physics and cosmology and as the driver of some the most groundbreaking ideas of the last half century. Here in Natural Sciences, we knew him, also, as a mentor, an inspiration, and a friend. This is especially the case in the departments of physics and astronomy—Steve's longtime academic home—where he continued to research many of the biggest unanswered questions in science over the last 40 years and to teach and mentor new generations of students, with dignity and verve, right through the end.

A prolific writer, an impassioned advocate, and a champion for public engagement, Steve represented UT science to the world with his brilliance and distinct brand of humor. In large and small ways, he made our community and the globe better, from helping to found a local town and gown society to advising top government officials about ways to end nuclear weapon proliferation. We took pride in Steve, our great ambassador for the natural sciences and the college's Nobel Laureate (as well as the University's first-ever Breakthrough Laureate—a prize he secured just last September, at the age of 87). He will be deeply missed, and our thoughts are with his loved ones, including his wife Louise and daughter Elizabeth.

As more information becomes available about a memorial service and opportunities to provide condolences to Steve's family and friends, we'll post information to the college's website. As we mourn the loss of a legend here in our community, let's also celebrate Steve's legacy and his life, which so exemplified dedication to science, to discovery, and to a never-ending love for curiosity and learning.

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Thursday, 08 December 2022

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