Nigel Goldenfeld

Department of Physics
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive - Urey Hall 7262 MC 0319
La Jolla, CA 92093

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Nigel holds the Chancellor's Distinguished Professorship in Physics and joined UCSD in Fall 2021 after being at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1985-2021. Nigel's research spans condensed matter theory, the theory of living systems, hydrodynamics and non-equilibrium statistical physics. 

Nigel received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (U.K.) in 1982, and for the years 1982-1985 was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California at Santa Barbara. In 1996, Nigel co-founded NumeriX, a company that specializes in high-performance software for the derivatives marketplace.   He has served on the editorial boards of several journals, including The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and Physical Biology. Selected honours include: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, University Scholar of the University of Illinois, the Xerox Award for research, the A. Nordsieck award for excellence in graduate teaching and the American Physical Society's Leo P. Kadanoff Prize. Nigel is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Current Research Interests: please see Nigel's research group's homepage.


Articles and talks



  • 563 (Phase Transitions and Renormalization Group)
  • 569 (Emergent states of matter)
  • 504 (Statistical Mechanics)
  • 598BIO (Biological information and complexity)

View Nigel's Commencement Address to the UIUC Department of Mathematics (2008).

View "Collective Effects", Nigel's acceptance speech at the investiture of the Swanlund Endowed Chair