Grace-Rupley Professor of Physics
In 2008, Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, recognized for their breakthrough discoveries in a line of research to which Ikaros Bigi has been a key contributor over the past three decades.
Bigi’s work centers around understanding how matter and antimatter relate to one another. Scientists originally viewed matter and antimatter as equal opposites that, upon meeting, would annihilate one another—an explanation that hardly accounts for the presence of life in the universe.
A widely recognized particle physicist and theorist, Bigi has been central in showing that differences exist between matter and antimatter, referred to as CP violation—asymmetries that would show why the universe is not a vast empty void. In 2004, he was awarded the J.J. Sakurai Prize by the American Physical Society for his “pioneering theoretical insights that pointed the way to the very fruitful experimental study of CP violation in B decays.”
In 2000, earnings from the original Grace-Rupley Professorship were used to create a second endowed position in physics, named in honor of W.R. Grace & Co.’s former chairmen of the board, J. Peter Grace and Allen S. Rupley. Grace was also memorialized with the construction of Grace Hall at Notre Dame, a dormitory-turned-administrative building.