Professor Philip Anderson ForMemRS

Philip Anderson was a physicist whose investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems led to an improved understanding of the nature of metals and insulators. He shared the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Philip discovered electron localisation inside a semiconductor, research that led to what is now called Anderson localisation — a general phenomenon that applies to the transport of quantum waves. He also invented several mathematical methods, including the Anderson Hamiltonian, which is used to describe magnetic impurities embedded in metals, and the Anderson–Higgs mechanism for generating mass in elementary particles. With John Rowell, he demonstrated the Josephson effect in superconductors.

Philip authored several scientific books, including Concepts of Solids, Basic Notions of Condensed Matter Physics (1997) and More and Different (2012). He also contributed to the philosophy of science, writing an article ‘More is Different’ for the journal Science in 1972, which outlined the limitations of reductionism and the existence of hierarchical levels of science.

Professor Philip Anderson ForMemRS died on 29 March 2020.


  • Nobel Prize in Physics

    Jointly with Sir Nevill Francis Mott and John Hasbrouck van Vleck for their fundamental theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems.

Professor Philip Anderson ForMemRS
Elected 1980