Carl Bryce Seligman
January 8, 1923
|Died||September 23, 2004 (aged 81)|
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Known for||DeWitt notation|
Canonical quantum gravity
|Awards||Dirac Prize (1987)|
Pomeranchuk Prize (2002)
Einstein Prize (2005)
|Institutions||Institute for Advanced Study |
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Texas at Austin
|Doctoral advisor||Julian Schwinger|
|Doctoral students||Donald Marolf|
Bryce Seligman DeWitt (January 8, 1923 – September 23, 2004), was an American theoretical physicist noted for his work in gravitation and quantum field theory.
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. 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.
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.