Ian Keith Affleck General Physics, Subatomic Particles, Optics, Biophysics, Theoretical Physics

Researching the theory of elementary particles, condensed matter and cosmology

The Story

The Royal Society of Canada has described Affleck as one of the best known theoretical physicists of his generation. Affleck’s expertise is on the theory of elementary particles. He applies ideas from quantum field theory to a wide range of topics, spanning particle and condensed matter physics and including statistical mechanics, supergravity and superconductivity. His theories bridge the behaviours of elementary particles (neutrons, protons and quarks) with those of condensed matter (solids such as crystals, semiconductors, metals and gems.) He is invited world-wide to lecture and to work with researchers on the leading edge of particle physics and theoretical condensed matter physics.

Sources: Canadian Who’s Who 1993; Dr. Affleck's website; The Trent Fortnightly; Science Council of BC; Photo: The Trent Fortnightly.

The Person

July 2, 1952
Vancouver, British Columbia
Professor of Physics
University of British Columbia
  • BSc, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, 1975
  • PhD, Harvard, Boston Massachusetts, 1979
  • Governor General's Medal, 1975
  • Steacie Prize, 1988
  • Herzberg Medal, 1990
  • Rutherford Medal, 1991
  • UBC Killam Prize and UBC Biely Prize, 1992
  • CAP/CRM Prize for Theoretical Math/Physics, 1997 BC Science & Technology Award, 1998
Last Updated
June 26, 2003

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question #128

How long would a single molecule of a radioactive element last? If the half-life of U-235 reduces its mass by half, and the resulting mass is also reduced into half by another half-life term, then a given mass would last indefinitely, because a half would always remain. In other words, some molecule of that radioactive mass would last longer than the rest of the molecules. Isn't the lifetime of a single molecule of that radioactive a constant? Is the concept of "half-life" valid?

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