Kenneth G. Wilson
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1982
Born: 8 June 1936, Waltham, MA, USA
Died: 15 June 2013, Saco, ME, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Prize motivation: "for his theory for critical phenomena in connection with phase transitions."
Prize share: 1/1
An accumulation of matter with uniform physical and chemical properties is said to be in a certain phase, such as solid, liquid or gas. There also are other phases, for example, when dealing with magnetism. A theoretical understanding of critical points for phase transitions requires a broad spectrum of scaling. Early attempts to explain this in one step led to infinities in the result. Kenneth Wilson solved the problem in 1971 through a type of renormalization, which can be described as solving the problem piece by piece.
Their work and discoveries range from the formation of black holes and genetic scissors to efforts to combat hunger and develop new auction formats.
See them all presented here.