Chris H. Greene

Purdue University

Primary Section: 13, Physics
Secondary Section: 14, Chemistry
Membership Type: Member (elected 2019)


Chris Greene is a theorist working in atomic, molecular, and optical physics, and in the related field of chemical physics. He is known for his research on few-body physics at low and ultracold energies, including collision processes such as recombination, photofragmentation, complex resonance phenomena, and predictions of unusual quantum mechanical states of long-range Rydberg molecules. A native of Greenwood, Nebraska and a graduate from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln with B.Sc. degrees in Physics and Mathematics, he completed a Physics PhD in 1980 at the University of Chicago followed by a postdoctoral stint at Stanford. He held professorships at Louisiana State University, at JILA and the University of Colorado, and is currently the  Albert Overhauser Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Purdue University. His awards received include the 1991 I. I. Rabi Prize and the 2010 Davisson-Germer Prize, both from the American Physical Society, and the 2013 Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics. He also received a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship. He is a Fellow of the APS and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

A major interest continues to be the development of theoretical treatments for nonperturbatively correlated quantum systems in many areas of physics, especially atomic and molecular systems at low energies and in ultracold quantum gases. Universal few-body physics related to the Efimov effect and more generally the connections between few-body and many-body systems have also been a major thrust. Some of Dr. Greene's broader interests have been forays into few-nucleon systems in nuclear physics and studies of the fractional quantum Hall effect for few-particle systems. With his collaborators, he has developed generalizations of multichannel quantum defect theory and hyperspherical coordinate methods for handling systems with strong correlations or entanglement, with computational applications of those methods to describe the dissociative recombination of diatomic and polyatomic molecular ions. Unusual quantum systems with a few particles have been predicted using methods developed by his group, such as a class of very long range molecules held together by a highly excited electron that binds only 2 or 3 or a few more atoms; this class includes the so-called 'trilobite' and 'butterfly' Rydberg molecules.

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