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Kenneth G. Wilson: Wikis


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Kenneth Geddes Wilson
Born June 8, 1936 (1936-06-08) (age 73)
Nationality United States
Fields Theoretical physics
Institutions Cornell University
Alma mater Caltech
Doctoral advisor Murray Gell-Mann
Doctoral students Roman Jackiw
Steve Shenker
Michael Peskin
Known for phase transitions
Wilson Loops
Notable awards Wolf Prize in physics in 1980
1982 Nobel Prize in Physics

Kenneth Geddes Wilson (born June 8, 1936) is an American theoretical physicist.

As an undergraduate at Harvard, he was a Putnam Fellow. He earned his PhD from Caltech in 1961, studying under Murray Gell-Mann.

He joined Cornell University in 1963 in the Department of Physics as a junior faculty member, becoming a full professor in 1970. In 1974, he became the James A. Weeks Professor of Physics at Cornell. He was a co-winner of the Wolf Prize in physics in 1980, together with Michael E. Fisher and Leo Kadanoff. He was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize in Physics for his seminal approach, combining quantum field theory and the statistical theory of critical phenomena of second-order phase transitions, i.e., for his constructive theory of the renormalization group. In this theory he gave not only important, and even numerical, insights to the field of critical statics and dynamics in statistical physics, but indirectly also basic answers to the question: "What is quantum field theory?" and "What does renormalization mean?". He also gave a constructive answer to another important "renormalization" problem from solid-state physics, the Kondo effect.

In 1985, he was appointed as Cornell's Director of the Center for Theory and Simulation in Science and Engineering (known now as the Cornell Theory Center, one of five national supercomputer center created by the National Science Foundation. Since 1988, Dr. Wilson has been a faculty member at the Ohio State University. His current research interests include physics education research.

His important PhD students include Roman Jackiw, Steve Shenker, and Michael Peskin.

Wilson's father was the prominent chemist E. Bright Wilson, and his brother David is also a Professor at Cornell in the department of Molecular Biology and Genetics.




  • Wilson, K. G.:Problems in physics with many scales of length, Scientific American, August 1979
  • the same:The Renormalization group (RG) and critical phenomena 1, Physical Review B, volume 4, 1971, p.3174
  • the same: The renormalization group: critical phenomena and the Kondo problem, Reviews of modern physics, 47, 1975, p.773-839
  • the same, and M. Fisher: Critical exponents in 3.99 dimensions, Physical Review Letters, 28, 1972, p.240
  • the same: Non-lagrangian models in current algebra Physical Review, 179, 1969, p.1499-1512 (operator product expansion)
  • the same: Model of coupling constant renormalisation, Physical Review D, 2, 1970, p. 1438-1472
  • the same: Operator product expansions and anomalous dimensions in Thirring model, ibid., p.1473-77
  • the same: Anomalous dimensions and breakdown of scale invariance in perturbation theory, ibid. p.1478-93
  • the same: RG and strong interactions Physical Review D, 3, 1971, p.1818-46
  • the same: Confinement of quarks, Physical Review D, 10, 1974, p.2445-59

See also

External links



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