Philip Phillips elected Fellow of AAAS

Siv Schwink


Professor of Physics Philip Phillips has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for “distinguished contributions to theoretical condensed matter physics, including the developments of the random dimer model and the concept of ‘Mottness.’"

Phillips is a theoretical condensed matter physicist whose leading-edge research on high-temperature cuprate superconductors focuses on explaining current experimental observations that challenge the standard paradigms of electron transport and magnetism. Phillips applies geometry and quantum field theory to disordered and strongly correlated low-dimensional systems to understand the properties of these materials.
Phillips’s work has earned him an international reputation. He is the inventor of various models for Bose metals, of the term “Mottness,”  and of the random dimer model which exhibits extended states in one dimension, thereby representing an exception to Anderson's localization theorem. He is the author of the comprehensive textbook Advanced Solid State Physics, published by the Cambridge University Press.
Head of Department and Professor Dale Van Harlingen said, “This is a well-deserved honor for Philip and significant recognition for our Condensed Matter Physics group. Philip has distinguished himself as one of the most creative theorists in the area of strongly-correlated electronic materials, especially via his pioneering work elucidating the concept of Mottness in these systems. He is leading our ambitious efforts to understand the mechanism of the high-temperature superconductors and to design new superconductors with even higher transition temperatures.  He has been particularly effective at bringing concepts to bear on this problem from high-energy physics and string theory, moving the field into previously unexplored territory.”
Phillips earned his bachelor's degree in math and chemistry from Walla Walla College in 1979 and his Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry from the University of Washington in 1982. After a Miller Postdoctoral Fellowship at Berkeley, he joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1984-1993). Phillips research interests led him to the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois in 1993.
Phillips is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and served the society as general councilor during the 1999–2000 academic year. He is the recipient of many honors; among these, he received the Senior Xerox Faculty Award in 1998, was named a Beckman Associate at the Center for Advanced Study for the 1998–1999 academic year, was the Edward A. Bouchet Lecturer of the American Physical Society in 2000, was selected as a University Scholar at the University of Illinois in 2004, and was named Bliss Faculty Scholar by the College of Engineering in 2005.

Founded in 1848, AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society. Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers in recognition of meritorious efforts to advance science or technology. This year’s fellows will be recognized during the AAAS annual meeting in Boston in February.


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