Daniel L. Stein, American physicist, is Professor of Physics and Mathematics at New York University. From 2006-2012 he served as the NYU Dean of Science.
He has contributed to a wide range of scientific fields. His early research covered diverse topics, including theoretical work on protein biophysics, biological evolution, amorphous semiconductors, quantum liquids, topology of order parameter spaces, liquid crystals, neutron stars, and the interface between particle physics and cosmology. His primary focus, however, has been on quenched randomness in condensed matter and on stochastic processes in both irreversible and extended systems. His research on these topics was cited by the American Association for the Advancement of Science as "pioneering work on the statistical mechanics of disordered and noisy systems".
He is best known for work on hierarchical dynamics; for observing that protein fluctuational conformations can be modeled using spin glass techniques; for constructing a theory of fluctuation-driven transitions in the absence of detailed balance; for applying stochastic methods to determine lifetimes, stability, and decay of nanowires and nanomagnets; and for a series of rigorous and analytical results on short-range spin glasses, including the introduction of the Newman-Stein metastate as a general mathematical tool for analyzing the thermodynamic properties of disordered systems.