Symposium to celebrate the science of Ken Wilson

Media Contact

John Carberry
Ken Wilson

A memorial symposium to celebrate Nobel laureate Ken Wilson’s scientific achievements will be held Saturday, Nov. 16, in Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall, beginning at 9 a.m.

Wilson, a member of the Cornell faculty from 1963 to 1987, died of complications from lymphoma at age 77 June 15 in Maine. He received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1982.

“Ken Wilson was one of a very small number of physicists who changed the way we all think, not just about specific phenomena, but about a vast range of different phenomena,” said fellow physics Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg.

Wilson’s Nobel Prize-winning research stemmed from seminal work on phase transitions by Michael Fisher and Benjamin Widom at Cornell, and Leo Kadanoff at the University of Illinois, all of whom will speak at the symposium. Kadanoff has noted that “the tools and concepts put forward by Wilson have formed the very basis of particle physics, field theory and condensed matter physics.”

The symposium will also feature talks by other colleagues and students of Wilson, including Edouard Brezin, Université Paris 6; Nobel laureate David Gross, University of California, Santa Barbara; Cornell physics professor Peter Lepage; Michael Peskin, M.A. ’76, Ph.D. ’78, Stanford University; and Steve White, M.A. ’85, Ph.D. ’88, University of California, Irvine.

Many of Wilson’s extended family will be present, and there will be time for remembrances from the audience. The after-dinner talk will be given by Cornell physics professor Paul Ginsparg.

For more information or to register, visit

Story Contacts