Peter Lepage is a theoretical particle physicist known for his work on quantum chromodynamics (QCD) and quantum electrodynamics (QED). His recent work uses large-scale numerical simulations of QCD to test the limits of the Standard Model of particle physics.
Lepage was born in Montreal, Canada, and graduated from McGill University with a degree in physics in 1972. He then earned a Masters degree from the University of Cambridge, and a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University in 1978. He was a postdoc at Cornell University before joining the Physics faculty there in 1980. He was later chair of the department and then Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for ten years, ending in 2013. He was appointed to the National Science Board in 2013 and served for five years. He directs Cornell’s Active Learning Initiative. He won the American Physical Society’s Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Physics in 2016. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

A recurring theme in Peter Lepage's work is the use of renormalization techniques, such as effective field theories, to analyze problems involving strong and electro-weak interactions. He and his collaborators developed renormalization techniques for exploring the short-distance structure of protons, neutrons and other hadrons using perturbative quantum chromodynamics (QCD). He later developed non-relativistic effective field theories that simplified the analysis of strongly interacting particles containing heavy quarks, while also greatly simplifying high- precision calculations in atomic quantum electrodynamics. He has also applied these ideas to problems in nuclear physics. In recent years Lepage's work has focused on large-scale numerical simulations to understand the internal structure and behavior of hadrons in QCD. He and his collaborators have developed new implementations of numerical QCD that drastically reduce the cost of these simulations, and have allowed them to produced some of the most accurate (<1%) calculations in the history of strong-interaction physics. These include determinations of the fundamental parameters in the QCD Lagrangian, as well as accurate determinations of a wide variety of hadronic masses, form factors and mixing amplitudes needed by experimenters in their search for breakdowns of the Standard Model of particle physics. Lepage also created the widely used vegas algorithm for numerical multi-dimensional integration, which uses adaptive importance/stratified Monte Carlo sampling. Also recently, he has done work in physics education research.

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Section 13: Physics