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Vinay Ambegaokar

Goldwin Smith Professor of Physics Emeritus

Condensed matter and low temperature physics, going back to the 1963 calculation of the temperature dependence of the Josephson effect, and the 1964 calculation of the effect of strong electron-phonon coupling on the thermal conductivity of superconducting lead. Magnetic field and surface effects in superfluid He3. Dynamics and phase transitions in films of superfluid He4. Destruction of superconductivity by disorder in homogeneous films and wires, low temperature conductivity of metallic films, transport of electrons through quantum dots.


My general interests have been in the area of low temperature and condensed matter physics. Recent work has focused on some aspects of disordered metallic conductors, on quantum information and its loss through decoherence, and on mathematical ways of describing these phenomena.

I supervised 20 Ph.D. theses, and retired in July 2007.

Awards and Honors

  • John Bardeen Prize, 2015
  • Humboldt Foundation Senior U.S. Scientist, 1986, 1990
  • Medal of the Collège de France, 1986
  • J.S. Guggenheim Fellow, 1983-84
  • Fellow, American Physical Society, 1979
  • Medal of the University of Helsinki, 1971
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, 1965-1967

Educational Background

  • Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1968-2007
  • Director, Research Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Helsinki, Finland, 1969-1971
  • Associate Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1964-68
  • Assistant Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1962-64
  • Ford Foundation Research Associate, Bohr Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1960-62
  • Ph.D., Theoretical Physics, Carnegie Institute of Technology, 1960
  • B.S., S.M. Mechanical Engineering Honors Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1956