Gabriele Veneziano, 2016 Friedel-Volterra Prize winner

Common Prize with the Società Italiana di Fisica

After the old string theory (originating from his 1968 paper) was reinterpreted in 1984 as a quantum theory of fundamental interactions, including gravity, Veneziano was one of the very first theorists investigating the cosmological implications of that theory.
Using some novel symmetries of the string-modified Einstein equations, he proposed, in 1991, a revolutionary cosmology in which the big-bang, traditionally identified with the beginning of time, is replaced by a “big-bounce” connecting our post-bang era to a previous “pre-bang” phase: this implies a cosmology without a beginning of time.
In subsequent work with several collaborators the model was further developed and observable consequences of a pre-big bang phase were worked out.

One of the most spectacular predictions of the new scenario is the existence of a stochastic background of gravitational waves at wavelengths accessible to present, or near future, interferometers on earth and/or in space. The recent direct detection of gravitational waves from coalescing black holes makes this possible future observation even more realistic and exciting.


The French and the Italian Physical Societies congratulate Gabriele Veneziano for having been at the origin of string theory and, more recently, for having pioneered its applications to primordial cosmology, the big bang, and the issue of the beginning of time.

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