John Cardy received his BA (1968) in Mathematics and PhD (1971) in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge University. After postdoctoral studies at CERN, Geneva and the University of California, Santa Barbara, he joined the faculty at Santa Barbara in 1977. In 1993 he moved to Oxford University, where until 2014 he was a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College (now an Emeritus Fellow) and a Professor of Theoretical Physics. He is also an Honorary Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge. From 2015-2023 he was a Visitng Professor then a Research Physicist at University of California, Berkeley.
Currently he resides in Sacramento, California USA.
His research prior to 1978 was in particle physics, in particular the study of high-energy diffraction scattering. After this, he applied methods of quantum field theory and the renormalization group to condensed matter, especially to critical phenomena in both pure and disordered equilibrium and non-equilibrium systems. In the 1980s he helped develop the theory of conformal invariance and its applications to these problems, ideas which also had an impact in string theory and the physics of black holes.
In the 1990s he used conformal invariance to derive many exact results in percolation and related probabilistic problems. This helped inspire the work of mathematicians which was recognised by the award of the Fields Medal to Wendelin Werner in 2006, and to Stas Smirnov in 2010. More recently Professor Cardy has worked on questions of quantum entanglement and non-equilibrium dynamics in many-body systems.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a recipient of the 2000 Dirac Medal of the Institute of Physics, of the 2004 Lars Onsager Prize of the American Physical Society, of the 2010 Boltzmann Medal of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, of the 2011 Dirac Medal and Prize of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, and of the 2024 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics..
Updated July 2023.