Wilson, Kenneth Geddes

Wilson, Kenneth Geddes, 1936–2013, American physicist, b. Waltham, Mass., Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 1961. A professor at Cornell (1963–88) and Ohio State Univ. (1988–2008), Wilson was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize in Physics for developing a theory of second-order phase transitions in matter that accounts for effects on neighboring molecules. He showed how phase transitions could be solved by treating what was happening on several different scales one scale at a time. The approach made use of the mathematical apparatus known as a renormalization group. Wilson also did significant work in quantum field theory.

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