The University Record, October 25, 1999

Regents honor Veltman

By Jane R. Elgass

Noting that it came with the “admiration, affection and awe of the University,” Regent Rebecca McGowan presented Nobel Prize-winner Martinus J.G. Veltman with a resolution from the Board at last week’s meeting.

Citing the whirlwind of activities in which he’s been involved since the announcement Oct. 12, Veltman confessed to being somewhat “emptied of wits.”

“I’ve been really overwhelmed. First I’m nobody and then I’m standing here,” he said, adding that he’s sorry that his work cannot be explained easily.

Veltman described the personal excitement he has felt during his career, “moving into uncharted territory, getting a feeling, making a guess and then seeing it work. There is nothing like it. It is by far the best you can have,” he said, adding that his career has been “topped of by something I never expected.”

Regents’ Commendation

“The Regents of the University of Michigan applaud and congratulate Martinus J. G. Veltman, the John D. MacArthur Professor Emeritus of Physics, on winning the Nobel Prize for physics. Dr. Veltman and his colleague and former student Gerardus ‘t Hooft are being recognized by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for their definitive contributions to advances in theoretical physics.

“Dr. Veltman developed the mathematical theories necessary for physicists to predict properties of the subatomic particles that comprise all matter in the universe and the forces that hold the particles together. In so doing, he has provided the framework for some of modern physics’ most heralded discoveries, including the renormalization of the electroweak theory and the 1995 discovery of the ‘top’ quark.

“Known worldwide for his pioneering work on gauge theories, Dr. Veltman was the first to pursue a systematic analysis of the calculation of radiative corrections and the first to develop a general-purpose computer program that could perform the algebra. While at Michigan, from 1981 until his retirement in 1997, he continued his work on physics issues related to radiative corrections and further enhanced his computer program Schoonschip to facilitate gauge theory calculations.

“The Regents express deepest admiration and appreciation to Dr. Veltman for his contributions to science and to the University’s intellectual and cultural life, and laud the accomplishments of Professor Emeritus Martinus J. G. Veltman, the first University of Michigan faculty member to win a Nobel Prize.”