Lucas K. Wagner

Assistant Professor


Lucas K. Wagner

Primary Research Area

  • Condensed Matter Physics
2131 Engineering Sciences Building

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Dr. Wagner received his bachelor's degree from North Carolina State University in 2002 and his PhD from the same institution in 2006. He then worked as a postdoc at Berkeley for two years, followed by a second postdoc at MIT in 2009. In 2011, he joined the physics department at Illinois as a research scientist and in 2014 became research assistant professor.

He is the leader of the QWalk project, which distributes a code that performs detailed quantum mechanical simulations from first principles. This code is used worldwide in diverse subject areas to obtain accurate quantum mechanical results for realistic models of systems. He has pioneered the use of quantum Monte Carlo on transition metal-oxide systems, as well as the use of high-throughput calculations to understand amorphous systems.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Interested undergraduates should contact me to discuss projects.

Research Statement

I am interested in using high performance computation to simulate complex systems, and draw physical insights from those simulations. One major example of this is using quantum Monte Carlo calculations to accurately describe the wave functions of realistic models of electrons and nuclei, including the correlations that electrons have with one another. I am particularly interested in drawing conceptual information about how the electrons move in a correlated way. This research area can connect directly to experiments, since the calculations are realistic, and also connect to more coarse-grained theory, by solving for the effective physics of electronic systems.

Post-Doctoral Research Opportunities

Interested postdoctoral candidates should contact me.

Teaching Honors

  • Nordsieck award for teaching excellence in physics (Spring 2020)

Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students

Fall 2016PHYS 213
Spring 2014PHYS 212

Selected Articles in Journals

Related news

  • Accolades

Thirty-eight research groups at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been allocated new computation time on the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This round of allocations provides over 17 million node-hours, equivalent to over half a billion core hours, and is valued at over $10.5 million, helping Illinois researchers push the boundaries of innovation and frontier science discovery.