Profile of Kenneth G. Wilson

Kenneth Wilson was born in 1936 in Waltham, Massachusetts, the son of a very distinguished chemist who taught at Harvard University throughout his career. Wilson was an undergraduate at Harvard College, and obtained his doctorate in 1961 at the California Institute of Technology, where he was a student of Murray Gell-Mann. He was then a Junior Fellow in Harvard's Society of Fellows, and joined Cornell University's Department of Physics in 1963. He held a professorship there beginning in 1970, and the James A. Weeks Chair in Physical Sciences since 1974. Wilson became the Director of the Center for Theory and Simulation in Science and Engineering (Cornell Theory Center) - one of five national supercomputer centers created by the National Science Foundation - in 1985. In 1988, Wilson moved to The Ohio State University's Department of Physics where he became the Hazel C. Youngberg Trustees Distinguished Professor. From 1991 to 1996, he was Co-Principal Investigator on Ohio's Project Discovery, one of the National Science Foundation's Statewide Systemic Initiatives.� Wilson currently co-directs Learning By Redesign.

�Wilson was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1975, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1975, and the American Philosophical Society in 1984. In 1980, he shared Israel's $100,000 Wolf Prize in Physics with Michael Fisher and Leo Kadanoff. The ultimate recognition of his achievements in Physics came with his 1982 award of the Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded for discoveries he made in understanding how bulk matter undergoes "phase transition", i.e., sudden and profound structural changes resulting from variations in environmental conditions.

�Wilson's background prior to educational reform ranges from elementary particle theory and condensed matter physics (critical phenomena and the Kondo problem) to quantum chemistry and computer science.� Wilson helped to popularize C++ among theoretical physicists.

Kenneth G. Wilson's Curriculum Vitae

Home page of Kenneth Wilson's new book Redesigning Education


Updated 16 June 1998.
Maintained by Learning By Redesign.