Veltman joined the U-M physics faculty in 1981 after 15 years as a professor of physics at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, where he completed the pioneering mathematical work cited by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in the Oct. 12 Nobel Prize announcement. Until his 1997 retirement, Veltman was an active member of the Department of Physics and was particularly involved in teaching and mentoring graduate students.
Richard Sands, our former department chair, had the wisdom to convince Prof. Veltman to spend the remainder of his professional career here at Michigan, said Ctirad Uher, professor of physics and current department chair. Veltmans stature as a world-class authority in high-energy particle theory attracted many post-doctoral students and research scientists to the U-M. He was a gentle man who held strong opinions on many subjects and never hesitated to exercise those opinions.
This is an extraordinary moment for Dr. Veltman and we congratulate him on this recognition of his definitive contributions to theoretical particle physics, said President Lee C. Bollinger. He brings great honor to the University of Michigan and we take pride in his association with us.
Veltman shares this years Nobel Prize in physics with his former graduate student, Gerardus
t Hooft, who is now a professor of physics at the University of Utrecht. They received the prize for work done in the 1960s and 1970s that made it possible for physicists to mathematically predict properties of the sub-atomic particles that make up all matter in the universe and the forces that hold these particles together.
Veltmans work was vital to the 1995 discovery of the top quark, which was observed for the first time during experiments conducted at the FermiLab particle accelerator near Chicago, Ill. Physics Prof. Homer A. Neal was one of several U-M faculty members who participated in experiments at FermiLab that confirmed the existence of the top quark.
Without Veltmans and t Hoofts work, discovery of the top quark would have been impossible, Neal said. While the concepts behind the Standard Modelthe theory that describes the elementary particles and forces in the universewere well-known in the physics community, their work gave us a way to apply the theory to real-world events. It was of monumental importance to advances of modern physics.
Neal and other U-M physicists currently are involved in a search for the Higgs bosonanother particle Veltman predicted to explain the origin of mass. These experiments will take place at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Physics Prof. Ratindranath Akhoury described Veltman as a teacher who wanted his students to be independent. He would help, but only so much, Akhoury added. He always said that five years from now, youre going to be on your own and no one will be there to help you. He truly was my mentor.
Veltman is a member of the Dutch Academy of Science and is a fellow of the American Physical Society. He has served on policy committees at all of the worlds major high energy physics laboratories. Among his many honors are the U-M Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Award (Germany); doctor honoris Causa from State University of New York-Stonybrook; and the Fifth Physica Lezing (The Netherlands). In 1992, he was knighted into the Dutch order of the Lion in honor of Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands. He received the 1993 High Energy Physics Prize from the European Physical Society.
Veltman to be honored, present lecture
U-Ms first Nobel Laureate, Martinus Veltman, will return to Michigan next week to attend a series of events in his honor.
He will receive a citation from the Board of Regents during its meeting Friday morning (Oct. 22). The Regents meeting, open to the public, begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Regents Room, Fleming Administration Building.
Veltman will give a free, public lecture 34:30 p.m. Oct. 22 in Room 1800, Chemistry Building, followed immediately by a reception in the Atrium. For more information, please call the Department of Physics, 764-4437.