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Robert B. Wiringa

Argonne Distinguished Fellow, Senior Physicist


Bob is a theoretical nuclear physicist. His primary interests are in nuclear force models, ab initio calculations of light nuclei, and dense nucleon matter and neutron stars. He has led the development of a series of realistic nucleon-nucleon (NN) potentials, including the widely used Argonne v18 potential, that reproduce large amounts of experimental nucleon-nucleon scattering data with high fidelity. He has also helped develop several three-nucleon (3N) potential models of the Urbana and Illinois families. These NN and 3N potentials are used as input to quantum Monte Carlo calculations of nuclear structure and reactions for light nuclei with up to twelve nucleons. They have also been used in variational calculations of dense nucleon matter and neutron stars, including a 1988 prediction that the maximum neutron star mass would be in the range of 2.1 – 2.2 solar masses. More recently these many-body calculations have been extended to study NN and 3N interactions derived within chiral effective field theory.

Bob’s work has been recognized by the award of the American Physical Society’s 2010 Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics, which he shared with his long-time colleague Steve Pieper. In 2017, the Office of Science of the U. S. Department of Energy identified 40 Research Milestones as part of the DOE 40th Anniversary, including the work described in:

  • Quantum Monte Carlo calculations of nuclei with A ≤ 7,” B. S. Pudliner, V. R. Pandharipande, J. Carlson, S.C. Pieper, and R. B. Wiringa, Phys. Rev. C 56, 1720 – Published 1 October 1997.

It is noteworthy that co-author Vijay Pandharipande was awarded the APS Bonner Prize in 1999 and co-author Joe Carlson received the APS Herman Feshbach Prize in Theoretical Nuclear Physics in 2017.

In 2020, two of Bob’s other papers were among 41 articles selected by the editors of Physical Review C as PRC 50th Anniversary Milestones:

  • Equation of state for dense nucleon matter,” R. B. Wiringa, V. Fiks, and A. Fabrocini, Phys. Rev. C 38, 1010 – Published 1 August 1988
  • Accurate nucleon-nucleon potential with charge-independence breaking,” R. B. Wiringa, V. G. J. Stoks, and R. Schiavilla, Phys. Rev. C 51, 38 – Published 1 January 1995


B.S., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1972
M.S., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1974
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1978


A comprehensive list of Bob’s publications may be found at:

A unique hobby is Bob’s interest in naval and maritime history and his collection of more than 2,000 ship models: