Lincoln Wolfenstein (born February 10, 1923, Cleveland, Ohio) is an American particle physicist who studies the weak interaction. Wolfenstein was born in 1923 and obtained his PhD in 1949 from the University of Chicago. He retired from Carnegie Mellon University in 2000 after being a faculty member for 52 years, but still lectures there occasionally. Despite being retired, he continues to come into work nearly every day.
Wolfenstein is a particle phenomenologist, a theorist who focuses primarily on connecting theoretical physics to experimental observations. In 1978, he noted that the presence of electrons in Earth and Solar matter could affect neutrino propagation. This work led to an eventual understanding of the MSW effect, which acts to enhance neutrino oscillation in matter. Wolfenstein received the 2005 Bruno Pontecorvo Prize from The Scientific Council of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), for his pioneering work on the MSW effect.
In 1992, Wolfenstein was awarded the American Physical Society's J.J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics for "his many contributions to the theory of weak interactions, particularly CP violation and the properties of neutrinos".