Michael Green (physicist)

For other people named Michael Green, see Michael Green (disambiguation).
Michael Green
Born Michael Boris Green
(1946-05-22) 22 May 1946[1]
Residence Cambridge
Nationality British[1]
Fields Physics
Institutions University of Cambridge
Queen Mary College, University of London
Princeton University
University of Oxford
Alma mater Churchill College, Cambridge[1]
Thesis Crossing Symmetry And Duality in Strong Interactions (1970)
Doctoral advisor Richard J. Eden[2]
Doctoral students Wafic Sabra
Michael Gutperle
Ling-Yan Hung
Miguel Paulos
Aninda Sinha
David Richards
Marco Barrozo
Bogdan Stefanski
Tathagata Dasgupta
Linda Uruchurtu[2]
Known for Superstring theory[3]
Green–Schwarz mechanism
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society[4]
Dirac Prize
Maxwell Medal and Prize (1987)
Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics (2002)
Naylor Prize and Lectureship (2007)
Fundamental Physics Prize (2013)
Spouse Joanna Chataway[1]

Michael Boris Green FRS[4] (born 22 May 1946) is a British physicist and one of the pioneers of string theory. Currently a professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and a Fellow in Clare Hall, Cambridge in England, he succeeded Stephen Hawking on 1 November 2009 as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.[5][6][7]

Education and background

Green was born the son of Genia Green and Absalom Green. He attended William Ellis School in London and Churchill College, Cambridge[1] where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with first class honours in theoretical physics (1967) and a PhD in elementary particle theory (1970).[2][8][9]


Following his PhD, Green did postdoctoral research at Princeton University (1970–72), Cambridge and the University of Oxford. Between 1978 and 1993 he was a Lecturer and Professor at Queen Mary College, University of London, and in July 1993 he was appointed John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge. On 19 October 2009 he was confirmed as the next Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, to succeed Stephen Hawking on 1 November 2009,.[5][6] In 2015 was succeeded in that chair by Michael Cates, a specialist in colloids, gels, and particulate materials.


After many years in collaboration with John Henry Schwarz,[10] he co-discovered the anomaly cancellation in type I string theory in 1984. This insight, named the Green–Schwarz mechanism, initiated the First Superstring Revolution. Green has also worked on Dirichlet boundary conditions in string theory which have led to the postulation of D-branes[11] and instantons.[12]

Awards and honours

Green has been awarded the Dirac and Maxwell Medals of the Institute of Physics, UK, the Dirac Prize of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (Trieste) and the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics of the American Physical Society. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1989.[4] Green has co-authored more than 150 research papers.[7][13]

His nomination for the Royal Society reads

Distinguished for his outstanding contributions to quantum field theory, especially the theory of superstrings. Green's early work was largely on duality in S-matrix theory. He was the first to prove an important result on the dual model – the cancellation of the leading divergences between boson and fermion loops. He has made significant contributions to the theory of phase transitions, but is best known for his trail-blazing work, much of it in collaboration with Schwarz, on superstring theory, including the first covariant formulation of the theory. The most important results are the proofs in 1984 and 1985 of anomaly cancellation for SO (32) and E8xE8 superstring theories and of infinity cancellation in the SO (32) case.

These definitive papers initiated the explosive growth of superstring theory, now one of the most active and exciting areas of fundamental theoretical physics.[4]

On 12 December 2013, Michael Green shared the Fundamental Physics Prize with John Henry Schwarz "for opening new perspectives on quantum gravity and the unification of forces."

Selected publications


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "GREEN, Prof. Michael Boris". Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press.(subscription required)
  2. 1 2 3 Michael Green at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. Green, M. B.; Schwarz, J. H. (1984). "Covariant description of superstrings". Physics Letters B. 136 (5–6): 367. Bibcode:1984PhLB..136..367G. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(84)92021-5.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "Green, Michael Boris: Library and Archive Catalogue". London: The Royal Society. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  5. 1 2 Henderson, Mark (20 October 2009). "Stephen Hawking's successor as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics: Michael Green". Times Online. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
  6. 1 2 "Michael Green elected 18th Lucasian Professor at the University of Cambridge". University of Cambridge. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
  7. 1 2 Michael Green's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier. (subscription required)
  8. Green, Michael Boris (1970). Crossing symmetry and duality in strong interactions (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge.
  9. "Dirac Medal 1989 Presentation Ceremony Leaflet" (pdf). April 1990. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
  10. Green, M. B.; Schwarz, J. H. (1984). "Anomaly cancellations in supersymmetric D = 10 gauge theory and superstring theory". Physics Letters B. 149: 117. Bibcode:1984PhLB..149..117G. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(84)91565-X.
  11. Green, M. B.; Harvey, J. A.; Moore, G. (1997). "I-brane inflow and anomalous couplings on D-branes". Classical and Quantum Gravity. 14: 47. arXiv:hep-th/9605033Freely accessible. Bibcode:1997CQGra..14...47G. doi:10.1088/0264-9381/14/1/008.
  12. Green, M. B.; Gutperle, M. (1997). "Effects of D-instantons". Nuclear Physics B. 498: 195. arXiv:hep-th/9701093Freely accessible. Bibcode:1997NuPhB.498..195G. doi:10.1016/S0550-3213(97)00269-1.
  13. "Michael Green Bibliography listing". Stanford University: Spires High Energy Physics database. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
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