Leggett to be inducted to Engineering at Illinois Hall of Fame

Siv Schwink

Anthony Leggett, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois
Anthony Leggett, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois
Anthony Leggett, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois, will be inducted into the 2015 Engineering at Illinois Hall of Fame tomorrow. He is among six selected for this distinction this year for significant achievements in leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation of great impact to society.

The induction ceremony will take place on Friday, September 18, 2015, at 10 a.m. at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology  (405 N Mathews Ave., Urbana). It is for the first time this year part of a wider celebration: Impact Day will celebrate University of Illinois engineering students, faculty, and staff whose accomplishments drive the economy, reimagine engineering education, and bring revolutionary ideas to the world.

The ceremony is open to friends, family, and supporters, and Physics students and faculty are encouraged to attend.

Leggett’s research interests lie mainly within the fields of theoretical condensed matter physics and the foundations of quantum mechanics. He is a world-renowned authority on the theory of low-temperature physics. Over the course of his career, his work has shaped our theoretical understanding of normal and superfluid helium liquids and other strongly coupled superfluids and has set directions for research in the quantum physics of macroscopic dissipative systems and use of condensed systems to test the foundations of quantum mechanics. In 2003, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics “for pioneering contributions to the theory of superconductors and superfluids.”

Leggett is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences (foreign member), and is a Fellow of the Royal Society (U.K.), the American Physical Society, and the American Institute of Physics. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics (U.K.). He was knighted (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 "for services to physics."

Leggett has a long history of service to the global scientific community and is currently the director of the Shanghai Center for Complex Physics, Shanghai Jiaotong University, and a distinguished visiting professor at the National University of Singapore. He is also the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Distinguished Research Chair at the Institute of Quantum Computing and Department of Physics and Astronomy, at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Leggett is the recipient of numerous academic honors, including the Distinguished Service Medallion of the University of Illinois (2009), the Wolf Foundation Prize for research on condensed forms of matter (with B. I. Halperin, 2002/03), and the Eugene Feenberg Memorial Medal (1999). He is also noted for his dedication to and excellence in training the next generation of scientists.

Leggett received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Merton College, Oxford University, in 1961, graduating with first class honors. He received his doctoral degree in physics from Magdalen College, Oxford University, in 1964. He holds honorary degrees from universities of Sussex, Oxford, British Columbia, St.Andrews, Tokyo, and Universidad Complutense (Madrid,Spain). He joined the physics faculty at Illinois in 1983.

Recent News

Innovative materials are the foundation of countless breakthrough technologies, and the Illinois Materials Research Science and Engineering Center will develop them. The new center is supported by a six-year, $15.6 million award from the National Science Foundation’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers program. It is led by Professor Nadya Mason of Engineering at Illinois’ Department of Physics and its Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory

By building highly interdisciplinary teams of researchers and students, the Illinois Materials Research Center will focus on two types of materials. One group will study new magnetic materials, where ultra-fast magnetic variations could form the basis of smaller, more robust magnetic memory storage. The second group will design materials that can withstand bending and crumpling that typically destroys the properties of those materials and even create materials where crumpling enhances performance.

  • In the Media
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Biological Physics

Quanta Magazine recently spoke with Goldenfeld about collective phenomena, expanding the Modern Synthesis model of evolution, and using quantitative and theoretical tools from physics to gain insights into mysteries surrounding early life on Earth and the interactions between cyanobacteria and predatory viruses. A condensed and edited version of that conversation follows.

Assistant Professors Jessie Shelton and Benjamin Hooberman of the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been selected for 2017 DOE Early Career Awards. They are among 65 early-career scientists nationwide to receive the five-year awards through the Department of Energy Office of Science’s Early Career Research Program, now in its second year. According to the DOE, this year’s awardees were selected from a pool of about 1,150 applicants, working in research areas identified by the DOE as high priorities for the nation.

  • Outreach

The most intriguing and relevant science happens at the highest levels of scientific pursuit-at major research universities and laboratories, far above and beyond typical high-school science curriculum. But this summer, 12 rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors-eight from Centennial and four from Central High Schools, both in Champaign-had the rare opportunity to partake in cutting-edge scientific research at a leading research institution.

The six-week summer-research Young Scholars Program (YSP) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was initiated by members of the Nuclear Physics Laboratory (NPL) group, who soon joined forces with other faculty members in the Department of Physics and with faculty members of the POETS Engineering Research Center.