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Feza Gürsey (April 7, 1921 - April 13, 1992) was a Turkish mathematician and physicist. His best known contribution to theoretical physics is his work on the Nonlinear Chiral Lagrangian.


Feza Gürsey was born on April 21, 1921 in Istanbul, to Reşit Süreyya Gürsey, a military physician, and Remziye Hisar (tr:Remziye Hisar), a chemist and a pioneering female Turkish scientist. He graduated from Galatasaray Lisesi in 1940, and received his degree in Mathematics – Physics from Istanbul Fen Fakultesi in 1944.

Through a scholarship of the Turkish Ministry of Education he received while he was an assistant in Istanbul University, he pursued a doctorate degree at the Imperial College London in the United Kingdom. He completed his work on Application of Quaternions to Quantum Field Theory in 1950. After spending the period from 1950 – 1951 in postdoctoral research at Cambridge University, he worked as an assistant at Istanbul University, where he married Suha Pamir, also a physics assistant, in 1952, and in 1953 he acquired the title of Associate Professor.

During 1957 – 1961 he worked at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey, and Columbia University. In 1960s, he worked on the Nonlinear Chiral Lagrangian, and produced results of relevance to Quantum Chromodynamics.

Returning to Turkey in 1961, he accepted the title of Professor from Middle East Technical University (METU) and took part in the establishment of METU Department of Theoretical Physics. Continuing his work as a lecturer at METU until 1974, he formed a research group.

Being offered a position at Yale University in 1965, he started to work in both Yale University and METU, until 1974, when he decided to give up his position in METU and settle in the United States to continue with Yale. During these years, he took part in the formulation of E(6) grand unified theories.[1]

Gürsey died in 1992, in New Haven, Connecticut. He is survived by his son, Yusuf Gürsey. The Feza Gürsey Institute, founded by the joint effort of Boğaziçi University and TÜBİTAK in Turkey, is named in his honor.


* (With Chia-Hsiung Tze) On the Role of Division, Jordan, and Related Algebras in Particle Physics (1996), ISBN 981-02-2863-5

Awards and honors

* 1969 Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) Science Award
* 1977 Oppenheimer Award together with Sheldon Glashow
* 1977 A. Cressey Morrison Prize together with R. Griffiths in Natural Sciences
* 1979 Albert Einstein Award
* 1981 College de France Award
* 1984 Honorary title of "Commendatore" by Italy
* 1986 Wigner medal administered by the Group Theory and Fundamental Physics Foundation
* 1987 The Wigner Award, given by the American Nuclear Society
* 1989 Award of Association of Turkish - American Scientists and Engineers
* 1990 Galatasaray Foundation Award

The Feza Gürsey Institute is named in his honor.


* Feza Gürsey Institute (official web site)

* Introductory information on Quaternions in Physics

* (Turkish) Feza Gürsey


1. ^ F. Gürsey, P. Ramond, P. Sikivie, A universal gauge theory model based on E6, Physics Letters B, Volume 60, Issue 2, 5 January 1976, Pages 177-180.


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