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March 2017 Newsletter

Alumni Spotlight – John Schwarz

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John Schwartz receiving the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (L to R) Michael Green, Yuri Milner, Mark Zuckerberg, John Schwarz.

One of the more interesting aspects of attending summer camp is to learn what your fellow campers or counselors go on to do in their respective careers. The present writer was a camper in Cabin 4 in 1959 and one of the counselors was John Henry Schwarz. At that time, none of us would have imagined that John would go on to make a revolutionary discovery in the field of theoretical physics that would bring him international acclaim.

John attended FLC as a camper during the years 1952-1957 and then as a counselor during the summers 1958 and 1959. During those years, he hailed from Glen Head, NY.   Along with his general counselor duties, John was also in charge of the camp newspaper – “The Owl”.

John received his BA from Harvard University (1958-1962) and his PhD from UC Berkeley (1962-1966). He joined the faculty of Princeton University for the years 1966-1972 and then joined the faculty of California Institute of Technology where he became the Harold Brown Professor of Theoretical Physics. John is now retired and maintains the title of Professor Emeritus. He currently lives in Pasadena, California.

What John was instrumental in developing and for which he has received numerous prizes is what is known as “Superstring Theory” which has become a viable theory of quantum gravity. John’s work along with his collaborator, Michael Green, has helped move “Superstring Theory” into the mainstream of research in theoretical physics. In recognition of his outstanding work in the fields of physics and mathematics, John has received numerous awards. Among these were his selection to the National Academy of Sciences; the Dirac Medal of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics; the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics of the American Physical Society; a MacArthur fellowship; and the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

John attended Forest Lake during the years that the camp’s science department enjoyed a strong reputation owing to the leadership of Adolf “Scholly” Scholl. Many of Scholly’s proteges went on to outstanding careers in science. What John Schwarz has accomplished in his distinguished career would certainly place him at the top of that list.


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