Neil Ashcroft

Horace White Professor of Physics, Emeritus

622 Clark Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca NY 14853

(607) 255-8613
(607) 255-9684
nwa@ccmr.cornell.edu
Publications

B.Sc., 1958, M.Sc., 1960, Dipl. Hons., 1960, University of New Zealand. Ph.D.,1964, Cambridge University, England. Research Associate, University of Chicago, 1964-65. Research Associate, Cornell University, 1965-66. Assistant Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1966-69. Associate Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1969-75. Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1975-present. Horace White Professor of Physics, Cornell University, 1990-present. Director, Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics (LASSP), Cornell University, 1979-84. Director, Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR), 1997-2000. Associate Director, Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), 1978-89. Deputy Director, CHESS, 1990-97. Chair, Division of Condensed Matter Physics, American Physical Society, 1985-87. Chair, Board of Trustees, Gordon Research Conferences, 1990-91. Guggenheim Memorial Fellow, 1984-85. Chair, US Dept of Energy Visiting Committee, Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1986-90. Bridgman Prize, AIRAPT, 2003. Member, Advisory Committees, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2000-2004. Member, Editorial Board, Physical Review, 1996-1999. Fellow, American Physical Society. Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science. Honorary Fellow, Royal Society of New Zealand. Fellow, the Institute of Physics. Foreign Member, Russian Academy of Sciences. Member, U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Research Areas
Density functional theory and field theoretic methods in both classical and quantal systems; matter at high densities and in reduced dimensionality, including the two-dimensional electron gas and confined electron systems; superlattice hetero-structures, their electronic structure, and their transport properties; metallic hydrogen and its electronically ordered alloys. The general theory of superconductivity.

Current Research

Present research themes are centered on the theory of strongly correlated many-particle systems, both classical and quantal, and high-temperature superconductivity.

Topics of special interest include:

  • Chemical pre-compression, and higher superconductivity in the lower elements in combination
  • Ground state liquid metals and their possible superfluidity
  • Ordered states of condensed matter at elevated pressures
  • Quantum and classical density functional theories (and applications)
  • General symmetry aspects of the metal-insulator transition
  • Theory of melting, and other first-order phase transitions
  • Theory of metallic hydrogen and its alloys

  • Spotlight

    Maxim Perelstein
    Finding the mechanism responsible for breaking electroweak symmetry is a current focus of Maxim Perelstein, assistant professor of physics. He also investigates topics in theoretical cosmology, particularly theoretical models for dark energy, dark... read more ||

    Spotlight

    Matt Farrar is a graduate student working with Professor Chris Schaffer in the Biomedical Engineering Department to develop novel optical tools for studying neuropathologies of the brain and spinal cord.  “The ability to study the dynamics of... read more

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    Spotlight

    Tarek Anous, a formerundergraduate student, who worked at the Wilson Lab with Professor Rich Galik on instrumentation for the International Linear Collider (ILC). The ILC is a proposed next-generation particle accelerator with a target date of 2015 to begin operation. Tarek helped construct a small detector that uses cosmic rays in order to simulate the real detector that will be used in the ILC. Cosmic rays hit the scintillator (a plastic rod) and produce photons whose signals ... read more ||

    Spotlight

    Dionysios Anninos was recently an undergraduate physics major at Cornell. "The range of possibilities offered at Cornell is overwhelming. One can end up studying the most disparate fields and end up well versed in them. Personally, I tried to exploit this feature to the maximum. I ended up learning a lot of great physics by sampling a large set of physics courses offered at a unique level, as well as exploring economics and mathematics." "Furthermore, through its advanced courses and research opportunities, Cornell offers the student a unique ... read more ||

    Spotlight

    Wui Ip Professor Carl Franck and student Wui Ip (who is at Cornell as part of the NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates program) are studying how cells interact and signal each other to form complicated structures. For example, cells communicate when conditions are good, and they exchange growth factors. Franck and Ip are focusing on the question "Why do cells need company to grow?" It is well known that a minimum culture is needed to grow cells. What determines that ... read more ||

    Spotlight

    Peter Wittich is an assistant professor in LEPP. He collaborates with assistant professor Julia Thom's research group. They are part of an international collaboration preparing the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment that will operate at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) scheduled to begin operation in 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland. Professor Wittich explains that "We're trying to understand fundamental questions such as 'What is the nature of space-time?' and 'Where does mass come from?' We do this by smashing protons together and looking at the very small particles that come out ... read more ||

    Spotlight

    Heng Li is a graduate student working with professor Julia Thom's research group at LEPP. The group is part of an international collaboration preparing the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment that will operate at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) scheduled to begin... read more