“There is a difference between knowing what is true and knowing why it is true” – Edward Witten
The Wikipedia entry for Edward Witten describes him as follows
“In addition to his contributions to physics, Witten’s work has significantly impacted pure mathematics. In 1990 he became the first and so far only physicist to be awarded a Fields Medal by the International Mathematical Union. In 2004, Time magazine stated that Witten is widely thought to be the world’s greatest living theoretical physicist.”
The Wikipedia article does not do justice to Witten’s contributions. The official webpage of Edward Witten at IAS is the right place to visit.
What fascinates me most about Edward Witten is the fact that he majored in history with a minor in linguistics at Brandeis University. After graduation he was an economics graduate student at the University of Wisconsin for one semester. He then had a change of heart and became a graduate student in the mathematics department at Princeton University. He switched to physics in 1973 and received his Ph.D. in Physics from Princeton University in 1976. His Ph.D. advisor was David J. Gross. I mentioned David J. Gross in a previous post.