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James Maxwell Bardeen (born May 9, 1939) is an American physicist, well known for his work in general relativity, particularly his role in formulating the laws of black hole mechanics. He also discovered the Bardeen vacuum, an exact solution of the Einstein field equation.
Bardeen graduated from Harvard in 1960 and earned his doctorate at Caltech under the direction of Richard Feynman. He is a professor emeritus of physics at the University of Washington in Seattle, and a Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. In 2012 he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
Bardeen is the son of two-time Nobel Laureate John Bardeen. His brother, William A. Bardeen, is also a physicist, and his late sister Elizabeth was married to Thomas J. Greytak, a physicist at MIT.
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