NAMBU, YOICHIRO / Physics / Researchers

International Center for Scientific Research




Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics, Enrico Fermi Institute, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

Research interests

Theoretical physics, particle physics, field theory.

"I have always been interested in the problem of mass hierarchy of particles. In this connection I have been exploring certain new aspects of spontaneous symmetry breaking. In 2002 I discovered a theorem on an anomaly in the number and the properties of Nambu-Goldstone bosons. This has led me to speculate on the possible violations of Lorentz invariance in free space. I also found that such “quasiparticles”, when regarded as classical particles, have peculiar non-Newtonian behavior that the effective mass can go negative (v and p in opposite directions) in a certain range of momentum, and the initial position and velocity of a particle do not uniquely determine its motion. In a more recent development, I have found a formulation of the so-called BEC-BCS crossover phenomenon, and I am looking into its general implications in physics.

Hagedorn-Rumer phenomena. It is well known in hadron multiple production (according to the so-called Hagedorn fireball model) as well as in string theory that the density of states increases exponentially with energy and competes with the Boltzmann factor so that thermodynamic equilibrium cannot be maintained above a certain limiting temperature. I have been interested in this as part of my search for phenomena that defy thermodynamics. The entropy of the black hole is of a similar but more drastic nature, and has been the subject of intense study in string theory lately. In classical physics I have found two simple examples of exponential density of states. One is a particle in a logarithmic potential, which had already been pointed out by Y. Rumer in 1960. The other is a particle under gravity and placed in a vessel whose horizontal cross section grows exponentially upwards. I suspect this is a rather general phenomenon which might eventually become relevant to biology as well as cosmological problems."

Prizes and awards

Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics, 1970
National Academy of Sciences, 1971
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1971
J. Robert Oppenheimer Prize, 1976
Order of Culture awarded by Government of Japan, 1978
Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor, 1978
National Medal of Science, 1982
Japan Academy (Honorary Member), 1984
Max Planck Medal, 1985
Dirac Medal, International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, 1986
Honorary Doctor of Science, Northwestern University, 1987
J. J. Sakurai Prize, American Physical Society, 1994
Wolf Foundation Prize in Physics, 1994-95
Gian Carlo Wick Commemorative Medal, World Federation of Scientists, 1995
Honorary degree, Osaka University, 1996
Foreign Fellow, Georgian Academy of Sciences, 1996
N. Bogoliubov Prize, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, 2003
Benjamin Franklin Medal, 2005

Nobel Prize in Physics 2008 "for the discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics"


A Dynamical Model of Elementary Particles based on an Analogy with Superconductivity I, (with G. Jona-Lasinio), Phys. Rev. 122, 345 (1961).

Fermion-Boson Relations in BCS Type Theories, Physica D 15, 173 (1985).

Symmetry Breaking, Chiral Dynamics, and Fermion Masses, Nuc. Phys. A 629 (1998) 3c.

Three Stages, Three Modes, and Beyond, Proc. XX Nishinomiya-Yukawa Symposium, 1996 (World Scientific, 97) p.1.

Aharonov-Bohm Problem Revisited, Nucl. Phys. B 579 (2000) 590. CPT, SSB, Ether, and All THAT, Proceedings of CPT01, Indiana University, (World Scientific, 2002), p.1.

Spontaneous Breaking of Lie and Current Algebras, J. Stat. Phys. 115 (2004) 7.

Some Anomalies Related to Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking, Proceedings of CPT04, Indiana University, (World Scientific, 2005), p.1.

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