Dear Sir or Madam, website uses cookies, which are intended to record visits. This website does not use cookies that contain your personal information.

Do you allow the usage of cookies on this webpage?
Born on this day
Kenneth Geddes Wilson
Kenneth Geddes Wilson is an American theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner.
23rd week in year
8 June 2021

Important personalitiesBack

Kenneth Geddes Wilson8.6.1936

Wikipedia (27 May 2013, 14:31)
Kenneth Geddes Wilson (born June 8, 1936) is an American theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner.


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. He also did research at SLAC during this period. 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 not only gave important insights into the field of critical statics and dynamics in statistical physics, but also indirectly helped to answer basic questions like: "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 (now known as the Cornell Theory Center), one of five national supercomputer centers 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.

Some of his PhD students include Roman Jackiw, Steve Shenker, Steven R. White, 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.


- Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics, 1973
- Boltzmann Medal, 1975
- Wolf Prize, 1980
- Harvard University, D.Sc (Hon.), 1981
- Caltech, Distinguished Alumni Award, 1981
- Franklin Medal, 1982
- Nobel Prize for Physics, 1982
- A. C. Eringen Medal, 1984
- Aneesur Rahman Prize, 1993

" Beautiful moments of our lives."