NIGEL GOLDENFELD is a theoretical physicist, holding a Swanlund Endowed Chair at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with appointments in the Department of Physics and the Institute for Genomic Biology. He is a member of the Condensed Matter Theory group in the Department of Physics, and leads the Biocomplexity Theme at the Institute for Genomic Biology. His research explores how patterns evolve in time; examples include the growth of snowflakes, the microstructures of materials, the flow of turbulent fluids, the dynamics of geological formations, and even the spatial structure of ecosystems.
Goldenfeld's interests in emergent and collective phenomena extend from condensed matter physics, where he has contributed to the modern understanding of high temperature superconductors, to biology, where his current work focuses on evolution and microbial ecology. Strongly committed to teaching, Nigel is well-known in the physics community for authoring what has become one of the standard graduate textbooks in statistical mechanics, Lectures on Phase Transitions and the Renormalization Group. In 1996, he took an entrepreneurial leave-of-absence from the University of Illinois to co-found NumeriX, the award-winning company that specializes in high-performance software for the derivatives marketplace.
Goldenfeld has published extensively in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, and his work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, Nature, Science, National Public Radio, and New Scientist.