After the war, Philip W. Anderson goes back to Harvard to continue graduate studies in theoretical physics. He chooses Van Vleck as his supervisor. He realises that the mathematical techniques of quantum field theory are useful in the experimental problem of spectral line broadening in the new radio-frequency spectra, just being exploited because of wartime electronics advances.
After he comes back to the USA, Philip W. Anderson becomes part-time Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton University.
After graduation, Philip W. Anderson works on solid-state theoretical physics at the AT&T Bell Laboratories, NJ, where many outstanding theoretical physicists are working. He is a member of the Technical Staff in the periods until 1959. Department Head from 1959 to 1961, and MTS in 1961-74. Assistant director from 1974 to 1976. Consultant director from 1977 to 1984. In this period, he makes important discoveries and develops a number of theoretical tools for solving quantum mechanics many-body problems.
Philip W. Anderson is the first Fullbright scholar to give lectures in Japan. He gives lectures on magnetism and a seminar on linebroadening. The most important experience is maybe the Kyoto International Theoretical Physics Conference, which is Anderson's first conference. There, Anderson meets for the first time many outstanding theoreticians including Nambu.
Philip W. Anderson is awarded the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with Sir Nevill Francis Mott and John Hasbrouck van Vleck "for their fundamental theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems." One of the main reasons underlying Anderson's prize is his work on electron localization.
Philip W. Anderson enrolls at Harvard University with the aim of majoring in mathematics. He obtains a full-support National Scholarship. He enjoys his studies at Harvard, but he finds humanities very difficult, albeit interesting. Nevertheless, Anderson obtains good grades. Since he studies in wartime years (1940-43) he is urged to concentrate in the immediately applicable subject of Electronic Physics.
Thanks to Mott, Philip W. Anderson is invited as Visiting Professor of theoretical physics at Cambridge University, UK, where he spends 8 productive years thanks to useful collaboration with colleagues and students. From 1969 to 1975 he is also Fellow of the Jesus College. In 1972, Anderson writes the famous paper "More is Different" that is one of the most influential writings in the reductionism-emergence philosophical debate in physics.
In 1984, after 35 years Philip W. Anderson retires from Bell Labs and becomes Joseph Henry Professor of Physics at Princeton University. Anderson becomes Emeritus professor at Princeton in 1997.
Employing quantum theory, Philip W. Anderson is the first to suggest the possibility of electron localization in semiconductors if some conditions are realised (namely, the degree of randomness of the impurities or defects is sufficiently large). He publishes is proposal in the paper "Absence of Diffusion in Certain Random Lattices" in Physical Review in 1958.
Philip W. Anderson spends one year at the Cavendish Laboratory and Churchill College, UK. Anderson has several discussions with Mott about his paper on localization of 1958 and other achievements, including the concept of symmetry breaking.
Philip W. Anderson grows up in Urbana, Illinois. His interest in physics and mathematics is sparked by his father's friends who are physicists (such as Wheeler Loomis and Gerald Almy). He graduates from the University Laboratory High School in Urbana in 1940. He has influential intellectual challenges with a first-rate mathematics teacher at the University High School, Miles Hartley.
Philip W. Anderson is born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Anderson's father, Harry Warren Anderson, is professor of plant pathology at the University of Illinois in Urbana.
During World War II, Philip W. Anderson works at the U. S. Naval Research Laboratory to build antennas. This work leads Anderson to admire Western Electric equipment and Bell engineers. He also understands the value and competence of his former physics professors at Harvard.