Sergio Ferrara

Sergio Ferrara

Sergio Ferrara (born May 2, 1945) is an Italian physicist working on theoretical physics of elementary particles and mathematical physics. He is renowned for the discovery of theories introducing supersymmetry as a symmetry of elementary particles (Supersymmetry-Yang–Mills theories, together with Bruno Zumino[1]) and of supergravity, the first significant extension of Einstein's general relativity, based on the principle of "local supersymmetry" (together with Daniel Z. Freedman, and Peter van Nieuwenhuizen[2]). He is an emeritus staff member at CERN and a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Early years

Sergio Ferrara was born on 2 May 1945 in Rome, Italy. He graduated from the University of Rome in 1968. Since then he has worked as a CNEN and INFN researcher at the Frascati National Laboratories; as a CNRS Visiting Scientist at the Laboratoire de Physique Théorique, École Normale Supérieure, Paris, and at the Theory Division at CERN, Geneva.

Conformal Field Theory

In 1971-1975, Sergio Ferrara did pioneering work on Conformal Field Theory. In a series of papers written in collaboration with Raoul Gatto, Aurelio Grillo and Giorgio Parisi, he studied constraints imposed by conformal symmetry on the operator dimensions, the form of the correlation functions, the operator product expansion, and the conformal partial wave expansion for the four-point correlation functions of the theory.[3] This work, together with the contemporaneous work by Alexander Polyakov, laid the foundations of Conformal Field Theory.


In 1976, Sergio Ferrara, Daniel Z. Freedman, and Peter van Nieuwenhuizen discovered Supergravity at Stony Brook University in New York. It was initially proposed as a four-dimensional theory. The theory of supergravity generalizes Einstein's general theory of relativity by incorporating the principles of supersymmetry.

Later years

In 1980 he was made a full professor of theoretical physics in Italy. He became a staff member of the Theory Division at CERN in 1981. In 1985, he became a Professor of Physics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Since 1986 he has been a senior staff member of the Physics Department at CERN. He is also Principal Investigator of the European Research Council Advanced Grant SUPERFIELDS.[4]


"For their discovery of supergravity theory in 1976 and their major contributions in the subsequent developments of the theory. Their discovery led to an explosion of interest in quantum gravity and it transformed the subject, playing a significant role in very important developments in string theory as well as Kaluza-Klein theory "
  • Honorary Laurea in Physics, 2005, from the University of Rome "Tor Vergata".
"For constructing supergravity, the first supersymmetric extension of Einstein's theory of general relativity, and for their central role in its subsequent development."
"He honoured italian physics with his discoveries, substantially contributing to the discoveries leading to the development of modern gravity theories. For his contribution to the discovery of supergravity theory."
  • Amaldi medal, 2008, SIGRAV,
"For his relevant contributions to supergravity models, their matter couplings and their implications for black hole physics, such as the attractor mechanism"
  • Commendatore Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana, 2010.
"For services in Theoretical Physics."


  1. ^ S. Ferrara, B. Zumino, Supergauge Invariant Yang-Mills Theories, Nucl.Phys.B79:413,1974
  2. ^ D.Z. Freedman, P. van Nieuwenhuizen, S. Ferrara, Progress Toward a Theory of Supergravity, Phys.Rev.D13:3214-3218,1976
  3. ^ Sergio Ferrara, Raoul Gatto, A. F. Grillo, Conformal Algebra in Space-Time and Operator Product Expansion. Springer Tracts in Modern Physics. Springer-Verlag. 1973
  4. ^

External links

  • 2006 Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics Recipient
  • Sergio Ferrara's profile at UCLA
  • SUPERFIELDS web page