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Vinay Ambegaokar

Goldwin Smith Professor of Physics Emeritus

Vinay Ambegaokar

3 Sugarbush Lane

Educational Background

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

Visiting appointments: Bell Laboratories; North American-Rockwell Science Center;
Brookhaven National Laboratory; IBM Watson Research Center; Institute of Theoretical Physics, UCSB; Collège de France; University of Karlsruhe; NORDITA, Copenhagen; University of Florida; All Souls College, Oxford; Bohr Institute, Copenhagen; Raman Research Institute, Bangalore; IIT Kanpur.

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



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.


  • Physics


  • Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics (LASSP)


My general interests have been in the area of low temperature and condensed matter physics. Recent work has focussed 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.


1. Thermal Resistance Due to Isotopes at High Temperatures, Physical Review 114, 488 (1959).

2. Friedel Sum Rule for a System of Interacting Electrons, Physical Review 121, 1090 (1961), with J. S. Langer.

3. Electromagnetic Properties of Superconductors, Nuovo Cimento, 22, 914 (1961), with L. P. Kadanoff.

4. Tunneling Between Superconductors, Physical Review Letters 10, 486 (1963); erratum 11, 104 (1963), with A. Baratoff.

5. Theory of the Electronic Thermal Conductivity of Superconductors with Strong Electron Phonon Coupling, Physical Review 134, A805 (1964), with Ludwig Tewordt.

6. Theory of the Thermal Conductivity of Superconducting Alloys with Paramagnetic Impurities, Physical Review 137, A1151 (1965), with Allan Griffin.

7. Ultrasonic Attenuation in Pure Strong-Coupling Superconductors, Physical Review Letters 16,1047 (1966).

8. Intrinsic Resistive Transition in Narrow Superconducting Channels, Physical Review 164, 498 (1967), with J. S. Langer.

9. Voltage Due to Thermal Noise in the dc Josephson Effect, Physical Review Letters 22, 1364 (1969), with B. I. Halperin.

10. Hopping Conductivity in Disordered Systems, Physical Review B 4, 2612 (1971), with B.I. Halperin and J. S. Langer.

11. Thermal Anomalies of He3: Pairing in a Magnetic Field,” Physical Review Letters 30, 81 (1973), with N. D. Mermin.

12. Landau-Ginsburg Equations for an Anisotropic Superfluid, Physical Review A 9, 2676 (1974), with P. G. deGennes and D. Rainer.

13. Dynamics of Superfluid Films, Physical Review B 21, 1806 (1980), with B. I. Halperin, D. R. Nelson and E. D. Siggia.

14. Coherence and Persistent Currents in Mesoscopic Rings, Physical Review Letters 65, 381 (1990), with U. Eckern.

15. Estimating errors reliably in Monte Carlo simulations of the Ehrenfest model, American Journal of Physics, 78, 150 (2010), with M. Troyer.