This article includes a list of general references, but it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (February 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Bryce DeWitt
Cecile.png
Bryce (right) and Cécile (left)
Born
Carl Bryce Seligman

January 8, 1923
DiedSeptember 23, 2004(2004-09-23) (aged 81)
NationalityAmerican
Alma materHarvard University
Known forDeWitt notation
Wheeler–DeWitt equation
Canonical quantum gravity
Effective action
Numerical relativity
Spouse(s)Cécile DeWitt-Morette
AwardsDirac Prize (1987)
Pomeranchuk Prize (2002)
Einstein Prize (2005)
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical physicist
InstitutionsInstitute for Advanced Study
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Texas at Austin
Doctoral advisorJulian Schwinger
Doctoral studentsDonald Marolf
Larry Smarr
Discussion in the main lecture hall at the École de Physique des Houches (Les Houches Physics School), 1972. From left, Yuval Ne'eman, Bryce DeWitt, Kip Thorne.
Discussion in the main lecture hall at the École de Physique des Houches (Les Houches Physics School), 1972. From left, Yuval Ne'eman, Bryce DeWitt, Kip Thorne.
Bryce S. DeWitt (center) with Grigori A. Vilkovisky (left) and Andrei O. Barvinsky (right) at the 5th Seminar on Quantum Gravity, Moscow, May 28 – June 1, 1990
Bryce S. DeWitt (center) with Grigori A. Vilkovisky (left) and Andrei O. Barvinsky (right) at the 5th Seminar on Quantum Gravity, Moscow, May 28 – June 1, 1990

Bryce Seligman DeWitt (January 8, 1923 – September 23, 2004), was an American theoretical physicist noted for his work in gravitation and quantum field theory.

Life

He was born Carl Bryce Seligman, but he and his three brothers, including the noted ichthyologist Hugh Hamilton DeWitt, added "DeWitt" from their mother's side of the family, at the urging of their father, in 1950. In the early-1970s, this change of name so angered Felix Bloch that he blocked DeWitt's appointment to Stanford University and DeWitt and his wife Cecile DeWitt-Morette, a mathematical physicist, accepted faculty positions at the University of Texas at Austin.[1] DeWitt served in World War II as a naval aviator.  He died September 23, 2004 from pancreatic cancer at the age of 81. He is buried in France, and was survived by his wife and four daughters.

Work

He pioneered work in the quantization of general relativity and, in particular, developed canonical quantum gravity, manifestly covariant methods, and heat kernel algorithms.  DeWitt formulated the Wheeler–DeWitt equation for the wave function of the universe with John Archibald Wheeler and advanced the formulation of Hugh Everett's many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. With his student Larry Smarr, he originated the field of numerical relativity.

He received his bachelor's (summa cum laude), master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University. His Ph.D. (1950) supervisor was Julian S. Schwinger. Afterwards, he held a postdoctoral position at the Institute for Advanced Study,  in Princeton, NJ, worked at the Lawrence Livermore Lab, and then held faculty positions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Texas at Austin. He was awarded the Dirac Prize in 1987, the Pomeranchuk Prize in 2002, and the American Physical Society's Einstein Prize posthumously in 2005, and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Books

References

Further reading