Steven Gubser, a 47-year-old professor at Princeton University, died while vacationing with his family in France, according to reports. Gubser was rock climbing when his rope snapped and he fell nearly 300 feet to his death.
Gubser is survived by his wife and three daughters.
“I am shocked and devastated by the untimely passing of Steve,” said Igor Klebanov, the director of Princeton Center for Theoretical Science, via local news station KYW-TV. “I have known him from the time when he, as a Princeton junior, enrolled in a graduate course I was teaching, and was by far the best student in the class. We have collaborated on many research papers, and my most influential paper by far was written in collaboration with him and Alexander Polyakov. Steve’s death is a huge loss for Princeton University, and for the world of theoretical physics. I will miss him greatly.”
Gubser graduated from Princeton in 1994 and received multiple accolades including Guggenheim Fellowship, a Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists, a Gribov Medal of the European Physical Society, and a Simons Investigator Award.
He had studied string theory and black holes.
Physics department chair Herman Verlinde added: “This is such a loss for everyone. I have known Steve for over 25 years, first as a stellar student and then as an equally stellar faculty colleague and scholar. He truly loved physics and was amazingly good at it. He deeply cared about teaching and sharing his enthusiasm for physics with his students. His energetic presence, disarming humor and cool style made him into one of our most popular teachers and mentors.
“Princeton was his home and he contributed to the University in many ways. We will dearly miss him.”
Our deepest condolences go out to Gubser’s family, friends, and students impacted by his passing during this incredibly difficult and tragic time.