June 20, 1912 – Birth of Markus Fierz, proved the Spin Statistical Theorem

Markus Eduard Fierz, son of the chemist and professor Hans Eduard Fierz and the psychologist Linda Fierz-David, was born in Basel (Switzerland) on June 20, 1912.

Fierz studied at the Realgymnasium in Zurich and continued his training in Göttingen (Germany) where he had the opportunity to attend presentations by figures such as Hermann Weyl. In 1933 he returned to Zurich and studied Physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) together with Wolfgang Ernst Pauli and Gregor Wentzel. In 1936 he presented his thesis on the infrared catastrophe in quantum electrodynamics, earning his PhD. This same year he became Wolfgang Pauli's assistant in Zurich.

In those years, Fierz dealt with relativistic fields of arbitrary spins, which later became important in studies of supergravity, and he proved the Spin Statistical Theorem for free fields.

In 1940 he became a Privatdozent (private teacher) in Basel and in 1943 an adjunct professor. For the next 15 years he held the post of Professor of Theoretical Physics in Basel, becoming, in 1959, Head of the Department of Theoretical Physics at CERN in Geneva. A year later, he was the successor of his teacher Pauli at the ETH.

Fierz retired in 1977 as a professor emeritus. He was awarded two years later with the Max Planck Medal and in 1989 with the Albert Einstein Medal.

Access to the best


on Energy and Environment
Go to resources