Meet Our Physicists

John Schwarz

John Schwarz headshot

John Henry Schwarz is a theoretical physicist. Along with Yoichiro Nambu, Holger Bech Nielsen, Joël Scherk, Gabriele Veneziano, Michael Green, and Leonard Susskind, he is regarded as one of the founders of string theory.

Schwarz studied mathematics at Harvard College (A.B., 1962) and theoretical physics at the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D., 1966), where his graduate advisor was Geoffrey Chew. For several years he was one of the very few physicists who pursued string theory as a viable theory of quantum gravity. His work with Michael Green on anomaly cancellation in Type I string theories led to the so-called “first superstring revolution” of 1984, which greatly contributed to moving string theory into the mainstream of research in theoretical physics.

Schwarz was an Assistant Professor at Princeton University from 1966 to 1972. He then moved to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he is currently the Harold Brown Professor of Theoretical Physics.

Schwarz was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Physical Society (1986). He was a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation in 1987. He received the Dirac Medal of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in 1989, and the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics of the American Physical Society in 2002. On December 12, 2013, he shared the Fundamental Physics Prize with Michael Green “for opening new perspectives on quantum gravity and the unification of forces.”

John Schwarz headshot

Positions Held

Trustee, 1982 – 1988
Treasurer, 1982 – 1985
General Member, 1990 – 2005
Honorary Member, 2005 – current

Related Content

John Schwarz, by Elisa Leonelli; and Michael Green, by Rene Sheret, from TIME Magazine, 1986

The Early Years of String Theory at ACP

By John H. Schwarz

We reminisce about some of the highlights in the development of string theory at the Aspen Center for Physics during the period 1969–1984, especially the authors’ collaboration in the period 1980–1984.