Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
Philip Warren Anderson
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1977
Born: 13 December 1923, Indianapolis, IN, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, NJ, USA
Prize motivation: "for their fundamental theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems."
Prize share: 1/3
Solid materials often have a regular crystalline structure and composition, but sometimes they constitute disordered systems. These could be alloys with a regular structure but a more random composition. Other solid materials, such as glass, lack a regular structure. In 1958 Philip Anderson showed the conditions under which an electron can move about freely within a disordered system and when it is more or less bound to a specific place. This and other works have contributed to a deeper understanding of electrical phenomena in disordered systems.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.