Tony Leggett

Tony Leggett
Tony Leggett
Tony Leggett
Tony Leggett
  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Chair Emeritus of Physics
(217) 333-2077
2113 Engineering Sciences Building


Sir Anthony J. Leggett, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor and Center for Advanced Study Professor of Physics, has been a faculty member at Illinois since 1983. He is widely recognized as a world leader in the theory of low-temperature physics, and his pioneering work on superfluidity was recognized by the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences (foreign member), and is a Fellow of the Royal Society (U.K.), the American Physical Society, and the American Institute of Physics. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics (U.K.). He was knighted (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 "for services to physics."

Professor Leggett has shaped the theoretical understanding of normal and superfluid helium liquids and other strongly coupled superfluids. He set directions for research in the quantum physics of macroscopic dissipative systems and use of condensed systems to test the foundations of quantum mechanics. His research interests lie mainly within the fields of theoretical condensed matter physics and the foundations of quantum mechanics. He has been particularly interested in the possibility of using special condensed-matter systems, such as Josephson devices, to test the validity of the extrapolation of the quantum formalism to the macroscopic level; this interest has led to a considerable amount of technical work on the application of quantum mechanics to collective variables and in particular on ways of incorporating dissipation into the calculations. He is also interested in the theory of superfluid liquid 3He, especially under extreme nonequilibrium conditions, in high-temperature superconductivity,in the low-temperature properties of glasses and in topological quantum computing,particularly in so-called "p+ip" Fermi superfluids.

Research Statement

Sir Anthony J. Leggett and Schroedinger's famous thought experiment Aspects of Cuprate Superconductivity
We are exploring a scenario for cuprate superconductivity in which a major factor is the reduction, due to increased screening by the Cooper pairs, of the long-wavelength, mid-infrared-frequency part of the Coulomb interaction. In addition, independently of this scenario, we are attempting to explain the c-axis transport properties of the cuprates and are looking at some problems associated with the "pseudogap" regime and with the peculiar features resulting from the existence of gap nodes.

Experimentally Oriented Studies of Basic Conceptual Issues in the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics
We are studying the application of the quantum-mechanical formalism to the description of various experiments that severely test one’s understanding of its meaning. In addition, we study possible alternative explanations of ostensibly relevant experiments in the literature.

Superfluidity and Phase Coherence in Very Degenerate Atomic Gases
Studies are being made of the superfluid density of an arbitrary many-body system, possible phase-coherence and interference experiments in Bose-condensed atomic gases, superfluidity in very degenerate dilute Fermi gases, and thermal transport in the ultralow-temperature regime of superfluid 3He.

Books Authored or Co-Authored (Original Editions)

  • A.J. Leggett. Quantum Liquids: Bose condensation and Cooper pairing in condensed matter systems (Oxford University Press, 2006).
  • A. J. Leggett. The Problems of Physics. (Oxford University Press: Oxford & N.Y.). (1987). [German translation: Physik: Probleme, Themen, Fragen, (Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, 1989); Japanese translation: Butsurigaku no Susume, Kinokuniya, Tokyo, 1990) Italian translation: I Problemi Della Fisica (Einaudi, Rome, 1991)] (electronic edition 2006).

Chapters in Books

Selected Articles in Journals

Articles in Conference Proceedings

Pending Articles


  • Knighted, Order of the British Empire (KBE) "for services to physics" by Queen Elizabeth II, 2005

Research Honors

  • 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics (with V. L. Ginzburg and A. A. Abrikosov) "for pioneering contributions to the theory of superconductors and superfluids"
  • 2002/2003 Wolf Foundation Prize for research on condensed forms of matter (with B. I. Halperin)
  • 1999-Foreign Member, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • 1999-Eugene Feenberg Memorial Medal
  • 1998-Honorary Fellow, Institute of Physics, UK
  • 1997-Elected Foreign Associate, National Academy of Sciences
  • 1991-Paul Dirac Medal and Prize (British Institute of Physics) (The Eighth Simon Prize was awarded in 1976, the Tenth London Award in 1978, while the Maxwell Prize and Dirac prizes are annual).
  • 1985-Fellow of the American Physical Society (November 1985)
  • 1981-Ninth Simon Memorial Prize of the British Institute of Physics
  • 1981-Eleventh Fritz London Memorial Award
  • 1980-Fellow of the Royal Society
  • 1975-Maxwell Medal and Prize of the British Institute of Physics

Recent Courses Taught

  • PHYS 598 CPP - Special Topics in Physics
  • PHYS 598 SC1 - Superconductivity, Part 1
  • PHYS 598 SC2 - Superconductivity, Part 2