Leggett to be inducted to Engineering at Illinois Hall of Fame

Siv Schwink
9/17/2015

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.

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The United States Department of Energy awards $2.2 million to the FAIR Framework for Physics-Inspired Artificial Intelligence in High Energy Physics project, spearheaded by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications’ Center for Artificial Intelligence Innovation (CAII) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The primary focus of this project is to advance our understanding of the relationship between data and artificial intelligence (AI) models by exploring relationships among them through the development of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) frameworks. Using High Energy Physics (HEP) as the science driver, this project will develop a FAIR framework to advance our understanding of AI, provide new insights to apply AI techniques, and provide an environment where novel approaches to AI can be explored.

This project is an interdisciplinary, multi-department, and multi-institutional effort led by Eliu Huerta, principal investigator, director of the CAII, senior research scientist at NCSA, and faculty in Physics, Astronomy, Computational Science and Engineering and the Illinois Center for Advanced Studies of the Universe at UIUC. Alongside Huerta are co-PIs from Illinois: Zhizhen Zhao, assistant professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Coordinated Science Laboratory; Mark Neubauer, professor of physics, member of Illinois Center for Advanced Studies of the Universe, and faculty affiliate in ECE, NCSA, and the CAII; Volodymyr Kindratenko, co-director of the CAII, senior research scientist at NCSA, and faculty at ECE and Computer Science; Daniel S. Katz, assistant director of Scientific Software and Applications at NCSA, faculty in ECE, CS, and School of Information Sciences. In addition, the team is joined by co-PIs Roger Rusack, professor of physics at the University of Minnesota; Philip Harris, assistant professor of physics at MIT; and Javier Duarte, assistant professor in physics at UC San Diego.

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This year, 31 research teams have been awarded a combined 5.87 million node hours on the Summit supercomputer, the OLCF’s 200 petaflop IBM AC922 system. The research performed through the ALCC program this year will range from the impact of jets on offshore wind farms to the structure and states of quantum materials to the behavior of plasma within fusion reactors—all computationally intensive scientific applications necessitating the power of a large-scale supercomputer like Summit.

  • In Memoriam

Jim was widely viewed as one of the best teachers in the Physics Department. He was frequently listed in the University’s roster of excellent instructors and won awards for his classroom skills. In 2012, he received the Arnold T. Nordsieck Physics Award for Teaching Excellence for his “patient, insightful, and inspiring physics teaching, one problem at a time, that encourages undergraduate students to take their understanding to a new level.”

  • Research

Now a team of theoretical physicists at the Institute for Condensed Matter Theory (ICMT) in the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, led by Illinois Physics Professor Philip Phillips, has for the first time exactly solved a representative model of the cuprate problem, the 1992 Hatsugai-Kohmoto (HK) model of a doped Mott insulator.