Iain Stewart (physicist)

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Iain Stewart
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NationalityUnited States of America, Canada
CitizenshipAmerican, Canadian
Alma materUniversity of Manitoba (BSc 1994, MSc 1995)
California Institute of Technology (PhD 1999)
Known forSoft-collinear effective theory
Scientific career
FieldsEffective field theory
Nuclear physics
Particle physics
Soft-collinear effective theory
InstitutionsMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Academic advisorsPeter Blunden (MSc)
Mark Wise (PhD)

Iain William Stewart is a Canadian-American theoretical Nuclear physics and Particle physics, and a Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is the current Director of the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics (CTP). He is best known for his work on Effective field theory and for developing the Soft-collinear effective theory.[1]


Stewart attended college at the University of Manitoba, where he received his B.Sc. with Joint Honors in Physics and Mathematics and M.Sc. in Theoretical Physics in 1994 and 1995, respectively, and won the Governor General's Academic Medal for highest standing in his graduating class.[2] He wrote his master’s thesis under the supervision of Peter Blunden.[3]

Stewart then moved to the California Institute of Technology for four years, earning his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics in 1999 under the supervision of Mark Wise.[4] He then held a postdoctoral position at the University of California, San Diego and a research assistant professorship at the University of Washington, Seattle, before moving to the MIT Department of Physics, where he is now full professor. He became director of the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics in 2019.[1][5]


Stewart “designs and applies effective field theories to describe physics at collider experiments and to explore the structure of quantum field theory.”[1] He is perhaps best known for developing the Soft Collinear Effective Theory (SCET) in the early 2000’s. Stewart has also made major contributions to other areas of theoretical nuclear and particle physics, including the use of Euclidean distributions in lattice QCD, the use of SCET in collider physics and B meson, non-relativistic Quantum electrodynamics and Quantum chromodynamics, and indirect detection methods for dark matter.[1][6]

Stewart has supervised dozens of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom have gone on to faculty positions at universities and national labs.[1][4][7]


Stewart developed a free online course on Effective Field Theory through the platform EdX, as well as a new MIT course, Classical Mechanics III.[8][9] In 2015 MIT awarded him the Buechner Faculty Teaching Award.[2]


  • Erwin Schrodinger Visiting Professor, University of Vienna, City of Vienna (2016) [10]
  • MIT Buechner Faculty Teaching Award (2015)[11]
  • Simons Investigator of the Simons Foundation (2014)[12]
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (2013)[13]
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation (2008)[14]
  • Sloan Research Fellowship (2004)[15]
  • Outstanding Junior Investigator Award, United States Department of Energy (2003)
  • Governor General's Silver Medal (1994)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Iain W. Stewart » MIT Physics". MIT Physics. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Stewart, Iain. "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Science.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "Winnipeg Institute for Theoretical Physics 1996-1997" (PDF). Physics Department, University of Manitoba.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Physics Tree - Iain W. Stewart". academictree.org. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  5. "Center for Theoretical Physics | Office Directory". officesdirectory.mit.edu. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  6. "INSPIRE". inspirehep.net. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  7. "Prize Recipient". www.aps.org. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  8. "Center for Theoretical Physics celebrates 50 years". MIT Physics. 2018-03-29. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  9. "New MITx MOOC Will Bring MIT Graduate Physics to the World". Open Matters | MIT OpenCourseWare News. 2014-06-19. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  10. "Erwin Schrödinger visiting scientist 2016". particle.univie.ac.at. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  11. "MIT Department of Physics". web.mit.edu. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  12. "Iain Stewart". Simons Foundation. 2017-08-15. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  13. "APS Fellow Archive". www.aps.org. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  14. "Awards and Honors: Jan. 14, 2009". MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  15. "Past Fellows | Alfred P. Sloan Foundation". sloan.org. Retrieved 2021-02-25.

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