Derek Leinweber

Professor Derek Leinweber

Professor of Physics - Associate DirectorCSSM

School of Physical Sciences

Faculty of Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Derek Leinweber is a Professor of Physics at the University of Adelaide. He is recognised internationally for his contributions to understanding the phenomena emerging from the fundamental theory of the strong interactions, Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD).

Prof Leinweber's approach to QCD favours the fundamental first-principles approach of lattice QCD where numerical simulations of the quantum field theory are performed on supercomputers. This ab-initio approach is complemented by effective field theory in relating the results from Lattice QCD to the experimental measurements of Nature. His research is reflected in over 320 refereed publications having more than 8,400 citations providing an h-index of 54.

His explorations of QCD-vacuum structure featured in Professor Wilczek's 2004 Physics Nobel Prize Lecture. He was awarded the 2007 Australian Institute of Physics Walter Boas Medal for making the "most important contribution to physics." Prof Leinweber was elected to chair and host Lattice 2012, the 30th International Symposium on Lattice Field Theory in Australia, the premier meeting for this field of research.

Prof Leinweber is passionate about providing students with an excellent experience in learning and teaching at all levels of their learning experience. This been recognised through the award of the Executive Dean of Sciences Prize for Excellence in Teaching and in the South Australian Science Excellence Awards where he was twice selected as a finalist for Science Educator of the Year. Most recently his contributions were acknowledged for ``Excellence in Teaching in the field of Physics'' by the Adelaide University Sciences Association.

Prof Leinweber received a PhD degree in Theoretical Physics from McMaster University, Canada for his research on nonperturbative QCD. He commenced research in the field of Lattice QCD through the award of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, tenured at TRIUMF, University of British Columbia, Canada. He enjoyed Postdoctoral Research Fellowships at the University of Maryland, The Ohio State University and the University of Washington (Seattle). In 1997 he was appointed Lecturer in the Department of Physics at the University of Adelaide, where he established a world-class research program in Lattice QCD. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2000, Associate Professor in 2003 and Professor in 2008. He served as Associate Dean ICT in the Faculty of Sciences, as founding Deputy Director (Visualization) of the South Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing (SAPAC) and as Deputy Director of the Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter. In 2008 he was appointed Head of the School of Chemistry and Physics and served for five years. He currently supports the ARC Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter as an Associate Director.

Prof Leinweber maintains a web page at
http://www.physics.adelaide.edu.au/theory/staff/leinweber/

My research program is driven by a desire to reveal and understand the phenomena emerging from the fundamental relativistic quantum field theory of the strong interactions, Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). As a key component of the Standard Model of the Universe, QCD describes the interactions between quarks and gluons as they compose the proton, neutron and a great zoo of other particles.

To explore QCD from the fundamental first-principles of the theory, I use the ab-initio approach of Lattice QCD, where numerical simulations of the quantum field theory are performed on supercomputers.  In relating the results of Lattice QCD to the experimental measurements of Nature, I draw on chiral effective field theory, a systematic approach based on the observed hadronic degrees of freedom and complementary to ab-initio lattice QCD.

The Lattice QCD Group in the ARC Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter (CSSM) has made many significant contributions to the field and the following list provides a few of the highlights.  In particular, we:

  • Discovered the existence of meson-baryon bound states in QCD, resolving 50 years speculation.  By calculating the quark-sector contributions to the magnetic moment of the Lambda(1405) baryon, an exotic molecular kaon-nucleon bound state was discovered.
  • Resolved the structure of the Roper resonance of the nucleon.  In an unanticipated discovery, the Roper resonance is not dominated by a quark-model state, rendering decades of quark-model phenomenology obsolete.  Instead the Roper is a resonance generated by strong rescattering in multiple meson-baryon scattering channels.  It presents a wonderful challenge in determining its electromagnetic structure.
  • Established the fundamental role of centre vortices in the gluon field of the nontrivial QCD vacuum in underpinning both the confinement of quarks and the dynamical breaking of chiral symmetry.  It is the most fundamental mechanism responsible for dynamical mass generation in hadronic matter.
  • Extended the graded-symmetry formalism of Partially Quenched Chiral Perturbation theory to the flavour-singlet sector of baryons.
  • Created a novel formalism based on partially-quenched chiral effective field theory and lattice QCD simulations for determining strange-quark contributions to baryon magnetic moments and polarizabilities.
  • Resolved the momentum dependence of the nonperturbative quark and gluon propagators via lattice QCD simulations.
  • Created the lattice-QCD based visualizations and animations of QCD vacuum structure featured in the 2004 Nobel Prize Acceptance Lecture of Prof. Frank Wilczek, scientific annual reports, posters, popular international science magazines and in YouTube science-video blogs.
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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 Co-Supervisor Quantum Chromodynamics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Joseph James Hall
    2018 Co-Supervisor Lattice QCD Studies using Overlap Fermions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Adam Clifford Virgili
    2017 Co-Supervisor Equation of State of Rotating Neutron Stars Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Wasif Husain
    2017 Principal Supervisor Role of Centre Vortices in Quantum Chromodynamics Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr James Crawford Biddle
    2017 Co-Supervisor Nuclear Physics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Theo Motta
    2016 Co-Supervisor Odd-mass Finite Nuclei in the Quark-Meson Coupling Model Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Kay Marie Lucenes Martinez
    2016 Principal Supervisor Exploration of background field methods in Lattice QCD Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ryan James Bignell
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2013 - 2018 Principal Supervisor On the Structure of Nucleon Excited States in Lattice QCD Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Finn McInnes Stokes
    2012 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Centre Vortices Underpin Dynamical Chiral Symmetry Breaking in SU(3) Gauge Theory Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Daniel Trewartha
    2012 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Spectroscopy with Multi-Hadron Interpolating Operators in Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Adrian Leigh Kiratidis
    2011 - 2015 Principal Supervisor A Variational Approach to Hadron Structure in Lattice QCD Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Benjamin James Owen
    2010 - 2012 Principal Supervisor Multi-Particle Baryon Spectroscopy in Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Adrian Leigh Kiratidis
    2010 - 2012 Principal Supervisor The Influence of Instantons on the Quark Propagator in Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Daniel Trewartha
    2009 - 2014 Principal Supervisor The Wave Function of the Nucleon and its Excited States Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Dale Roberts
    2009 - 2013 Principal Supervisor Magnetic Properties of the Nucleon in a Uniform Background Field Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Thomas James Primer
    2009 - 2018 Principal Supervisor A Study of the Lambda(1405) in Lattice QCD Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ben Menadue
    2008 - 2014 Co-Supervisor On the Individuation of Physical Systems in Quantum Theory Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Cael Louey Hasse
    2007 - 2011 Principal Supervisor Chiral Effective Field Theory Beyond the Power-Counting Regime Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jonathan Hall
    2007 - 2010 Principal Supervisor Impact of Dynamical Fermions on the Vacuum of Quantum Chromodynamics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Peter Moran
    2007 - 2011 Principal Supervisor Gluonic Profile and Confining String in Static Mesons and Baryons at Finite Temperature Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ahmed El Bakry Mahmoud
    2006 - 2010 Co-Supervisor Excitations of the Nucleon in Lattice QCD Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Selim Mahbub
    2006 - 2009 Co-Supervisor Applications of the Octet Baryon Quark-Meson Coupling Model to Hybrid Stars Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Jonathan Carroll
    2004 - 2004 Co-Supervisor Investigations in Non-perturbative QCD Master of Science Master Full Time Mr Jonathan Ashley
    2003 - 2007 Principal Supervisor Meson Properties from Lattice QCD Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr John Hedditch
    2003 - 2007 Co-Supervisor Nucleon Structure Functions, their Medium Modification and the Polarized EMC effect Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ian Cloet
    2003 - 2007 Principal Supervisor Baryon Spectroscopy from Lattice QCD Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ben Lasscock
    2003 - 2006 Co-Supervisor Electomagnetic properties of baryons from lattice QCD Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Sharada Boinepalli
    2003 - 2006 Co-Supervisor Complexity and Self-organization: Data Analysis and Models Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Marco Bartolozzi
    2003 - 2006 Co-Supervisor Landau-gauge Green's Functions in Unquenched Lattice QCD Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Maria Parappilly
    2001 - 2005 Co-Supervisor Finite-Range Regularisation of Chiral Effective Field Theory Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time APrf Ross Young
    2000 - 2004 Co-Supervisor Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics with FLIC Overlap Fermions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Waseem Kamleh
    1999 - 2002 Co-Supervisor Baryon Spectroscopy with FLIC Fermions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time APrf James Zanotti
    1998 - 2002 Co-Supervisor Improved Actions in Lattice QCD Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Frederic Daniel Bonnet
    1998 - 2002 Co-Supervisor Chiral Symmetry and the Extraction of Hadron Properties from Lattice QCD Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Stewart Wright
    1997 - 2001 Co-Supervisor Investigation of Topology, Instantons, and the Nahm Transform in Lattice QCD using Highly Improved Operators Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Sundance Bilson-Thompson
  • Position: Professor of Physics - Associate DirectorCSSM
  • Phone: 83133423
  • Email: derek.leinweber@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 4380
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Physics, floor 1
  • Room: 1 28
  • Org Unit: Physics

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