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Feza Gürsey
Feza Gürsey.jpg
Born (1921-04-07)April 7, 1921
Died April 13, 1992(1992-04-13) (aged 71)
Alma mater
Known for
  • Chiral model
  • SU(6)
  • Gürsey-Radicati mass formula
  • Reşit Süreyya Gürsey
  • Remziye Hisar
Scientific career
Fields Mathematical Physics
Thesis Applications of Quaternions to Field Equations (1950)
Doctoral advisor Harry Jones [de]
Doctoral students
  • Itzhak Bars
  • Metin Gürses
  • Pierre Sikivie
  • Atsushi Higuchi

Feza Gürsey (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈfeza ˈɟyɾsej]; April 7, 1921 – April 13, 1992) was a Turkish mathematician and physicist. Among his most prominent contributions to theoretical physics, his works on the Chiral model and on SU(6) are most popular.

Early life

Feza Gürsey was born on April 7, 1921, in Istanbul, to Reşit Süreyya Gürsey, a military physician, and Remziye Hisar, a chemist and a pioneering female Turkish scientist. He graduated from Galatasaray High School in 1940, and received his degree in Mathematics – Physics from Istanbul University in 1944.


Through a scholarship from 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 the application of quaternions to quantum field theory in 1950. After spending the period from 1950 to 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 in 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.

Death and legacy

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.

Awards and honors

  • 1969 Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) Science Award
  • 1977 J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Prize together with Sheldon Glashow
  • 1977 A. Cressey Morrison Prize together with R. Griffiths in Natural Sciences
  • 1981 Collège de France Award
  • 1983 Honorary title of "Commendatore" by Italy
  • 1986 Wigner medal administered by the Group Theory and Fundamental Physics Foundation
  • 1989 Award of Association of Turkish - American Scientists and Engineers
  • 1990 Galatasaray Foundation Award

The Feza Gürsey Institute in Istanbul and Feza Gürsey Science Center in Ankara are named in his honor. Boğaziçi University maintains a Feyza Gürsey Archive. His bronze likeness can be encountered at a number of places in Turkey, for example a sculpture by Charlotte Langlands is present at the Nesin Mathematics Village.

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