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Arthur Strong Wightman (March 30, 1922 - January 13, 2013) was an American mathematical physicist. He was one of the founders of the axiomatic approach to quantum field theory, and originated the set of Wightman axioms.^{[1]} With his rigorous treatment of quantum field theories, he promoted research on various aspects of modern mathematical physics.^{[2]}
Wightman has been married twice. His first wife, Anna-Greta Larsson, was an artist and photographer and died early. They had a daughter, Robin, who also died prematurely. The second wife was the Bulgarian translator Ludmilla Popova Wightman. Wightman died on January 13, 2013, in Princeton, in New Jersey.^{[7]}
Scientific career
Already during his undergraduate studies, Arthur Wightman had close contacts with the mathematics department in Princeton. Together with the mathematician John Tate, Wightman was engaged in the work on the Lorentz and Poincaré groups representations.^{[8]}
In the 1950s, he introduced his famous Wightman axioms as a mathematical foundation to relativistic quantum field theory. Quantum fields are treated as distributions in space-time. The Hilbert space carries a unitary representation of the Poincaré group under which the field operators transform covariantly. Res Jost was able to derive the PCT and the spin-statistics theorems, as shown in Wightman's and Streater's book.^{[9]} Together with Eugene Wigner and Gian-Carlo Wick, he introduced superselection rules and studied the representations of commutator and anti-commutator algebras with the mathematician Lars Gårding.^{[10]}
Wightman, Arthur S. (1967). Introduction to some aspects of the relativistic dynamics of quantized fields, Cargese Lectures in Theoretical Physics. Gordon and Breach Science Publishers.
Wightman, Arthur S. (1977). "Should We Believe in Quantum Field Theory?". 15th Erice School of Subnuclear Physics: The Why's of Subnuclear Physics. pp. 983-1025.
^Jaffe, Arthur; Simon, Barry (January 2013). "Arthur Strong Wightman (1922-2013)"(PDF). News Bulletin, International Association of Mathematical Physics: 34-36.
Jaffe, Arthur; Simon, Barry (January 2013). "Arthur Strong Wightman (1922-2013)"(PDF). News Bulletin, International Association of Mathematical Physics: 34-36.