Jurg Frohlich is a professor emeritus of general theoretical and mathematical physics at ETH Zurich. He is known for his
work in general quantum theory, quantum eld theory, statistical physics, mathematical aspects of condensed matter physics,
atomic physics and quantum optics. Frohlich grew up in Switzerland. He studied mathematics and physics and graduated with
a diploma in physics from ETH Zurich, in 1969. Working under the supervision of Klaus Hepp, he earned his PhD in theoretical
physics from ETH in 1972. The subject of his PhD thesis concerned the infrared problem in quantum eld theory. He held
postdoctoral appointments at the University of Geneva and at Harvard University. From 1974 till 1977, he was an assistant
professor of mathematics at Princeton University. From 1978 till 1982, he was a professor of theoretical physics at the Institut
des Hautes Etudes Scientiques (IHES) near Paris. In 1982, he returned to Switzerland as a full professor of theoretical physics
at the ETH. He has been a frequent visitor at the IHES and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He has received
several science prizes and is a member of the Academia Europaea and of two academies in Germany.

Research Interests

Jurg Frohlich has pursued diverse research interests in mathematical physics. His early work was in constructive quantum
eld theory and concerned the infrared problem in a model of massless particles, quantum solitons and exotic commutation
relations between quantum elds. He then turned to statistical mechanics, with work on two-dimensional Coulomb gases.
His results, with Barry Simon and, primarily, with Thomas C. Spencer, on phase transitions with continuous symmetry breaking,
the Kosterlitz-Thouless transition, and Anderson localization have become quite well known. He continued with work on
quantum eld- and gauge theory, with excursions into particle physics, and on the theory of disordered systems. His interests
then shifted towards two-dimensional conformal eld theory and three-dimensional gauge theory, including topological
Chern-Simons theory. This inspired research in condensed matter theory, in particular on the quantum Hall eect. Frohlich
found the rst example of a two-dimensional, time-reversal invariant topological insulator with chiral edge spin currents. He
also worked on atomic physics and quantum optics, and on interacting Bose gases. At present he is exploring a new twist in
the foundations of quantum mechanics. His work owes much to the eorts of numerous truly excellent collaborators.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 11: Mathematics

Secondary Section

Section 13: Physics