Steven R. White
University of California, Irvine


"For his development, application, and dissemination of the numerical density matrix renormalization group (DMRG) method."


Steven R. White is a Professor of Physics at the University of California at Irvine. He was born in 1959, and received his BA in Physics, Mathematics, and Economics, from UC San Diego in 1982, graduating summa cum laude. He completed his Ph.D degree in Physics from Cornell in 1987, where he was a shared student with Ken Wilson (Nobel laureate and the first Rahman prize winner) and John Wilkins. Subsequently he was a post doc at UC Santa Barbara, and then joined the faculty at UC Irvine in 1989.

His research throughout his career has focused on computational methods for studying quantum systems. As an undergraduate, he worked for three years with physical chemist Kent Wilson doing computational chemical physics, coauthoring two papers. At Cornell, he developed techniques to apply the renormalization group to electronic structure calculations. At UCSB, he developed and applied quantum Monte Carlo methods to strongly correlated systems, including the high temperature superconductors. Shortly after going to UCI, he invented the density matrix renormalization group, a numerical approach which has become widely used and which has proven to be remarkably successful for studying low-dimensional strongly correlated systems. His principal application of DMRG has been to models of the cuprate high temperature superconductors, where he has made substantial progress in understanding the properties of the striped states observed in many of these systems. In recent years he has also been working to extend the range of DMRG to include higher dimensional systems and to perform ab initio calculations of electronic structure.

He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and has previously been an IBM Postdoctoral Fellow at UCSB, an NSF Graduate Fellow and A.D. White Fellow at Cornell, and a Regents' Scholar and President's Undergraduate Fellow at UCSD. He is currently serving as Councillor for the Division of Computational Physics of the APS.

Selection Committee:

Priya Vashishta (Chair), Richard M. Martin (12/02), Alex Zunger ('01 Rpnt) (12/02), Junko Shigemitsu (V Chair) (12/03), Dave Arnett (12/03)