Lucas K. Wagner is a professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). After growing up in rural southern Virginia, he obtained a B.S. in physics and applied math followed by a Ph.D. in physics at North Carolina State. After postdoctoral appointments at Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he moved to UIUC in fall 2011.
Wagner’s main interest is in the physics of electrons in materials. He is the author of the QWalk package, which allows researchers to use Monte Carlo techniques to simulate the correlated electronic structure of materials. He has used this technique to demonstrate the feasibility of obtaining high-accuracy predictions of correlated materials properties from first principles.
Wagner has contributed to a number of new methods for studying correlated electron systems. He has contributed to the development of optimal variational wave functions for first principles models, the structure of the nodes or zeros of many-body wave functions and statistical analysis of Monte Carlo simulations. He is currently interested in the interface between first principles and effective model calculations.