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Department of Chemistry


Image courtesy Nathan Pitt, Department of Chemistry.

Professor Daan Frenkel has been awarded the Boltzmann Medal for 2016, the most important prize awarded in the field of statistical mechanics.

Daan will receive the award for his seminal contributions to the Statistical Mechanics understanding of the kinetics, self-assembly and phase behaviour of complex macro-molecular, colloidal and biomolecular systems through highly innovative simulation methodologies.

On hearing that he had received the award, Daan said, “I am totally surprised; this is a huge honour.  I personally tend to view it as a recognition of the entire field of computer simulations and the study of soft matter.”

The Boltzmann Award honours outstanding achievements in Statistical Physics.  The award consists of a gilded medal (the Boltzmann Medal) with the inscription of Ludwig Boltzmann, an Austrian physicist and philosopher who developed statistical mechanics.   It is awarded only once every three years, by the Commission on Statistical Physics of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).   

Asked for a comment, Professor Giovanni Ciccotti from the University of Rome La Sapienza said, “Throughout his career, Daan Frenkel has been pushing the concepts and tools of Statistical Mechanics to their limits, in an effort to develop new methodologies and algorithms enabling the study of complex systems and phenomena through large-scale numerical simulations.  He is arguably the most creative and diverse ‘simulator’ of soft matter and the self-assembly of complex macromolecular systems of his generation.”

Daan will receive the medal, along with joint recipient Professor Yves Pomeau (University of Arizona and École Normale Supérieure) during a special ceremony at the StatPhys Conference in Lyon on 20 July.

The Frenkel Research Group in the Department of Chemistry explores the use of numerical simulations to predict the stability and rate of formation of self-assembling structures and materials.  These studies are relevant for the design of novel materials and for the understanding of the physical properties of existing self-assembled structures.

Daan is the second Cambridge recipient of the Medal after the late Professor Sir Sam Edwards, the Cavendish Professor of Physics who received the medal in 1995.