Primary Research Area
- Condensed Matter Physics
For More Information
- Ph.D. Physics University of Cambridge, England 1982
Nigel Goldenfeld holds a Center for Advanced Study Professorship and a Swanlund Endowed Chair at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with appointments in the Department of Physics and the Institute for Genomic Biology. He is a member of the Condensed Matter Theory group in the Department of Physics, and leads the Biocomplexity Theme at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. He directs the NASA Astrobiology Institute for Universal Biology, at UIUC. Nigel received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1982, and for the years 1982-1985 was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California at Santa Barbara.
Since 1985 he has been on the faculty at the University of Illinois, with sabbatical positions at Stanford University and the University of Cambridge. Nigel's research explores how patterns evolve in time; examples include the growth of snowflakes, the microstructures of materials, the flow of fluids, the dynamics of geological formations, and even the spatial structure of ecosystems. Nigel's interests in emergent and collective phenomena extend from condensed matter physics, where he has contributed to the modern understanding of high temperature superconductors, to biology, where his current work focuses on evolution and microbial ecology.
Strongly committed to teaching, Nigel is well-known in the physics community for authoring one of the standard graduate textbooks in statistical mechanics, and is widely regarded as one of the most popular graduate-level lecturers in the Department of Physics. In 1996, Nigel took an entrepreneurial leave-of-absence to found NumeriX, the award-winning company that specializes in high-performance software for the derivatives marketplace. Amongst his awards, Nigel has been an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, a University Scholar of the University of Illinois, a recipient of the Xerox Award for Research, and a recipient of the A. Nordsieck Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, the International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Finance and Communications in Applied Mathematics and Computational Science. Nigel is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Selected Articles in Journals
- P. Jeraldo, M. Sipos, N. Chia, J. Brulc, A. Singh Dhillon, M. Konkel, C. Larson, K. Nelson, A. Qu, L. Schook, F. Yang, B. White, and N. Goldenfeld. Quantification of the relative role of niche and neutral processes in structuring gastrointestinal microbiomes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA). Early Edition (2012).
- L. Angheluta, P. Jeraldo and N. Goldenfeld. Anisotropic velocity statistics of topological defects under shear flow. Phys. Rev. E 85, 011153 (2012).
- N. R. Pace, J. Sapp, and N. Goldenfeld. Phylogeny and beyond: Scientific, historical and conceptual significance of the first tree of life. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 109, 1011-1018 (2012).
- T.C. Butler, M. Benayoun, E. Wallace, W. van Drongelen, N. Goldenfeld, and J. Cowan. Evolutionary constraints on visual cortex architecture from the dynamics of hallucinations. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 109, 606-609 (2012).
- J. M. Brulc, C. J. Yeoman, M. K. Wilson, M. E. Berg Miller, P. Jeraldo, S. Jindou, N. Goldenfeld, H. J. Flint, R. Lamed, I. Borovok, M. Vodovnik, K. E. Nelson, E. A. Bayer, and B. A. White. Cellulosomics, a gene-centric approach to investigating the intraspecific diversity and adaptation of ruminococcus flavefaciens within the rumen. PLoS ONE 6, e25329 (2011).
- M. Sipos and N. Goldenfeld. Directed percolation describes lifetime and growth of turbulent puffs and slugs. Phys. Rev. E [Rapid Commun.] 84, 035305 (2011).
- P. Jeraldo, N. Chia, and N. Goldenfeld. On the suitability of short reads of 16S rRNA for phylogeny-based analyses in environmental surveys. Environ. Microbiol. 13, 3000-3009 (2011).
- Z. Wang and N. Goldenfeld. Theory of cooperation in a micro-organismal snowdrift game. Phys. Rev. E [Rapid Commun.] 84, 020902 (2011).
- M. Assaf, L. Angheluta, and N. Goldenfeld. Rare fluctuations and large-scale circulation cessations in turbulent convection. Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 044502 (2011).
- A. M. Menzel and N. Goldenfeld. Effect of Coulombic friction on spatial displacement statistics. Phys. Rev. E 84, 011122 (2011).
- T. Butler and N. Goldenfeld. Fluctuation-driven Turing patterns. Physical Review E 84, 011112 July 2011.
- G. Tsekenis, N. Goldenfeld, and K. Dahmen. Dislocations jam at any density. Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 105501:1-4 (2011).
- N. Chia and N. Goldenfeld. Dynamics of gene duplication and transposons in microbial genomes following a sudden environmental change. Phys. Rev. E 83, 021906:1-10 (2011).
- N. Chia and N. Goldenfeld. Statistical mechanics of horizontal gene transfer in evolutionary ecology. J. Stat. Phys. 10.1007/s10955-010-0112-8 (2011).
- N. Goldenfeld and C. R. Woese. Life is Physics: evolution as a collective phenomenon far from equilibrium. Ann. Rev. Cond. Matt. Phys. 2, 375-399 (2011).
- M. Sipos, P. Jeraldo, N. Chia, A. Qu, A. S. Dhillon, M. Konkel, K.E. Nelson, B.A. White, and N. Goldenfeld. Robust computational analysis of rRNA hypervariable tag datasets. PLoS One 5, e15220 (2010).
- G. Gioia, N. Guttenberg, Nigel Goldenfeld, and P. Chakraborty. Spectral theory of the turbulent mean-velocity profile. Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 184501:1-4 (2010).
- Z. Wang and N. Goldenfeld. Fixed points and limit cycles in the population dynamics of lysogenic viruses and their hosts. Phys. Rev. E 82, 011918:1-18 (2010).
- P.-Y. Chan, G. Tsekenis, J. Dantzig, K. Dahmen and N. Goldenfeld. Plasticity and dislocation dynamics in a phase field crystal model. Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 015502:1-4 (2010).
- N. Guttenberg, N. Goldenfeld and J. Dantzig. Emergence of foams from the breakdown of the phase field crystal model. Phys. Rev. E. [Rapid Commun.] 81, 065301(R):1-4 (2010).
- T. Tran, P. Chakraborty, N. Guttenberg, A. Prescott, H. Kellay, W. Goldburg, N. Goldenfeld, and G. Gioia. Macroscopic effects of the spectral structure in turbulent flows. Nature Physics 6, 438-441 (2010).
- N. Guttenberg and N. Goldenfeld. Emergence of heterogeneity and political organization in information exchange networks. Phys. Rev. E 81:4, 046111:1-8 (2010).
- N. Goldenfeld, N. Guttenberg, G. Gioia. Extreme fluctuations and the finite lifetime of the turbulent state. Phys. Rev. E 81:3, 035304:1-3 (2010).
- N. Goldenfeld. Roughness-induced criticality in a turbulent flow. Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 044503:1-4 (2006).
- University Scholar (1994-1997)
- Nordsieck Award for Excellence in Teaching (May 2002)
- Elected Fellow, Institute of Physics (May 2011)
- Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences (May 2010)
- Elected Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (May 2010)
- Swanlund Endowed Professor, UIUC. Aug 2008 - present
- Fellow of the American Physical Society (1995)
- Sloan Foundation Fellowship (1987-1991)
- Junior Xerox Award for Faculty Research (1991)
- Beckman Fellow, Center for Advanced Study-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Fall, 1988)
Recent Courses Taught
- PHYS 504 - Statistical Physics
- PHYS 569 - Emergent States of Matter
Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students
|Spring 2021||PHYS 569|
|Spring 2020||PHYS 504|
|Spring 2019||PHYS 504|
|Spring 2017||PHYS 563|
|Spring 2015||PHYS 504|
|Spring 2012||PHYS 563|
|Spring 2011||PHYS 504|
|Fall 2010||PHYS 569|
|Spring 2010||PHYS 563|
|Fall 2009||PHYS 569|
|Spring 2009||PHYS 504|
|Spring 2008||PHYS 563|
|Fall 2007||PHYS 569|
|Spring 2007||PHYS 504|
|Fall 2006||PHYS 569|
|Spring 2006||PHYS 569|
|Fall 2005||PHYS 563|
|Spring 2005||PHYS 504|
|Spring 2004||PHYS 498|
|Fall 2002||PHYS 462|
|Spring 2001||PHYS 498|
|Fall 2000||PHYS 462|
|Spring 2000||PHYS 464|