Feza Gursey

By Tatum Hightower

Place of Birth

Feza Gürsey was born on April 7, 1921 in Istanbul.

Date of Birth & Death


April 7, 1921


April 13, 1992(1992-04-13) (aged 71)

New Haven, Connecticut

Education When and Where

Through a scholarship of the Turkish Ministry of Education he received while he was an assistant in Istanbul University, he pursued a doctorate degree at the Imperial College London in the United Kingdom. After spending the period from 1950–1951 in postdoctoral research at Cambridge University, he worked as an assistant at Istanbul University, where he married Suha Pamir, also a physics assistant, in 1952, and in 1953 he acquired the title of Associate Professor.

Major Contribution(s) to Physics

His prominent contributions to theoretical physics, his works on the Chiral Model and on SU(6) are most popular.

Summary of the theory/research that was important to Science.

In the early part of his career, Gürsey studied the conformally invariant quantum field theories, concepts whose role in physics are now central. This developed into his long and multifaceted interest in the unitary representations of non-compact groups and their applications to space-time. In the 1950's, he did his work on Pauli-Gürsey transformations and later introduced the non-linear chiral Lagrangian, one of his most seminal contributions to theoretical physics. Chiral symmetry and non-linear realizations of symmetry groups have since become an integral part of theoretical physics. In the 1960s, Feza became well known for his work on the SU(6) symmetry that combines the unitary spin SU(3) of the eightfold way with non-relativistic spin degrees of freedom of quarks. Feza's introduction in the mid-1970s of the grand unified theory based on the exceptional group E6 -which has continued to fascinate theoretical physicists ever since- was one facet of his long interest in the possible role of quaternions and octonions in physics. This interest also led to Feza's work on quaternion analyticity, which continued practically to the end of his life.
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