Philip Warren Anderson: Wikis


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Philip Warren Anderson

Born 13 December 1923(1923-12-13)
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Nationality United States
Fields Physics
Institutions Bell Laboratories
Princeton University
Cambridge University
Alma mater Harvard University
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Doctoral advisor John Hasbrouck van Vleck
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physics (1977)

Philip Warren Anderson (born December 13, 1923) is an American physicist and Nobel laureate. Anderson has made contributions to the theories of localization, antiferromagnetism and high-temperature superconductivity.



Anderson was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and grew up in Urbana, Illinois. He graduated from University Laboratory High School in Urbana in 1940. Afterwards, he went to Harvard University for undergraduate and graduate work, with a wartime stint at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in-between. In graduate school he studied under John Hasbrouck van Vleck.

From 1949 to 1984 he worked at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, where he worked on a wide variety of problems in condensed matter physics. During this period he discovered the concept of localization, the idea that extended states can be localized by the presence of disorder in a system; the Anderson Hamiltonian, which describes electrons in a transition metal; the "Higgs" mechanism for generating mass in elementary particles; and the pseudospin approach to the BCS theory of superconductivity.

From 1967 to 1975, Anderson was a professor of theoretical physics at Cambridge University. In 1977 Anderson was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his investigations into the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems, which allowed for the development of electronic switching and memory devices in computers. Co-researchers Sir Nevill Francis Mott and John van Vleck shared the award with him. In 1982, he was awarded the National Medal of Science. He retired from Bell Labs in 1984 and is currently Joseph Henry Professor of Physics at Princeton University.

Anderson's writings include Concepts of Solids, Basic Notions of Condensed Matter Physics and The Theory of Superconductivity in the High-Tc Cuprates. Anderson currently serves on the board of advisors of Scientists and Engineers for America, an organization focused on promoting sound science in American government. He is a certified first degree-master of the Chinese board game Go.

A 2006 statistical analysis of scientific research papers by José Soler, comparing number of references in a paper to the number of citations, declared Anderson to be the "most creative" physicist in the world.[1] He has been critical of string theory.[2]



  1. ^ World's most creative physicist revealed -
  2. ^ "string theory is the first science in hundreds of years to be pursued in pre-Baconian fashion, without any adequate experimental guidance", New York Times, 4 January 2005


  • Anderson, P.W. (1997). THE Theory of Superconductivity in High-Tc Cuprates. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691043655.  
  • Anderson, P.W. (1997). Basic Notions of Condensed Matter Physics. Reading: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0201328305.  
  • Anderson, P.W. (1998). Concepts in Solids: Lectures on the Theory of Solids. Singapore: World Scientific. ISBN 9810232314.  
  • Bernstein, Jeremy (1987). Three degrees above zero: Bell Laboratories in the information age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521329833.  

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Philip Warren Anderson (born 13 December 1923) is a American theoretical physicist.


  • It is seen as the application of a systematic “scientific method” involving wearing a white coat and being dull. I feel that too many young people come into science with this view, and that too many fields degenerate into the kind of work which results: automatic crank-turning and data-collecting of the sort which Kuhn calls “normal science” and Rutherford “stamp-collecting”. In fact, the creation of new science is a creative act, literally, and people who are not creative are not very good at it.
    • in Some ideas on the Aesthetics of Science, address presented by Philip W. Anderson as the Nishina Memorial Lecture at the 50th Anniversary Seminar of the Faculty of Science&Technology, at Keio University (Tokyo), on May 18, 1989.

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