David Ceperley

David Ceperley
David Ceperley
Professor, Physics
(217) 244-0646
2107 Engineering Sciences Building

For More Information


  • Ph.D. Theoretical Physics Cornell University Sept. 1976


Professor Ceperley received his BS in physics from the University of Michigan in 1971 and his Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University in 1976. After one year at the University of Paris and a second postdoc at Rutgers University, he worked as a staff scientist at both Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. In 1987, he joined the Department of Physics at Illinois. He was a staff scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications from 1987 until 2012.

Professor Ceperley's work can be broadly classified into technical contributions to quantum Monte Carlo methods and contributions to our physical or formal understanding of quantum many-body systems. His most important contribution is his calculation of the energy of the electron gas, providing basic input for most numerical calculations of electronic structure. He was one of the pioneers in the development and application of path integral Monte Carlo methods for quantum systems at finite temperature, such as superfluid helium and hydrogen under extreme conditions.

Professor Ceperley is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and to the UIUC Center for Advanced Studies.

Research Statement

Electronic Structure of Condensed Matter: The goals of our research are to develop computational methods for condensed matter starting from the fundamental many-body equations. The primary methods used are quantum Monte Carlo simulations, which can find exact properties of many-body systems and can be applied to diverse solids and liquids. We are combining these approaches to create new methods and to test the accuracy of calculations on materials. Current research includes studies of electron fluids, metalization of hydrogen at high pressure, simulations of solids and liquids as a function of temperature, and cold atom systems.


Selected Articles in Journals


  • B. J. Alder CECAM Prize (2016)
  • Member International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences (2013)
  • Blue Waters Professor (2014)
  • Center for Advanced Studies Professor (2009)
  • Founder Professor of Engineering (2006)
  • National Academy of Science (2005)
  • Fellow, Institute of Physics (1999)
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences (1999)
  • Xerox Faculty Award (1990)
  • Arnold O. Beckman Award, University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study, 1989
  • NSF Graduate Fellowship (1971)

Research Honors

  • Berni J. Alder CECAM Prize (2016)
  • Rahman Prize in Computational Physics of the American Physical Society (1998)
  • Feenberg Medal (1994)
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (1990)

Recent Courses Taught

  • MSE 485 (CSE 485, PHYS 466) - Atomic Scale Simulations
  • PHYS 460 - Condensed Matter Physics