Günter Robert Scharf, Full Professor

1970-2006 Physics Department University of Zurich (UZH) 
Quantum Field Theory, Causal Perturbation Theory, Spin Waves, Lasers, inearized Boltzmann transport equation
""Günter Scharf""

Prof. Dr. Günter Scharf (*September 19, 1938, Nordhausen, Germany, †August 16, 2020, near Zürich, Switzerland).

Günter Robert Scharf enrolled in 1958 at the University of Göttingen to study physics, and went to the University of Giessen in the following year. The fact that Scharf lost a leg in a tragic accident never stopped him from continuing his scientific career; thanks to a foreign exchange scholarship, Scharf was able to continue his studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETHZ), where he wrote his diploma thesis under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Res Jost in 1962.

In 1965, Günter Scharf finished his Ph.D. thesis "Fastperiodische Potentiale" under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Armin Thellung (1924-2003), who was one of the last Ph.D. students and assistants of Wolfgang Pauli.

Scharf was a full professor at the University of Zürich from 1970 till 2006.

Günter Scharf has written three books:

1) "Finite Quantum Electrodynamics" (Springer, 1989/1995), in which he shows how one can avoid
ultraviolet divergences in QED by making use of causality and distribution theory.

2) "Quantum Gauge Theories : A True Ghost Story" (Wiley, 2001) extends the causal method to
gauge theories.

3) "From Electrostatics to Optics" (Springer, 1994), an excellent textbook containing a concise introduction
to classical electrodynamics.

The causal approach to quantum field theory advocated during the last 20 years by Scharf goes back to a classic paper by H. Epstein and V. Glaser. The method has the great advantage that it uses mathematically well-defined objects only, namely free asymptotic fields. Therefore all mathematical operations have a precise meaning in the framework of distribution theory,
in particular, there are no ultraviolet divergences. The method has been applied to abelian, massless non-abelian and to massive non-abelian gauge theories. In the latter case one obtains the complete structure of the standard electroweak theory as a consequence of (quantum) gauge invariance, without using spontaneous symmetry breaking. In the case of spin-2 gauge fields gauge invariance alone leads to the same couplings as given by Einstein's theory (see also G.Scharf, Quantum gauge theories - a true ghost story).
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Armin Thellung grad student 1962-1965 University of Zurich (UZH)
 (Armin Thellung was the PhD supervisor of Günter Scharf.)
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