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Christopher Jarzynski
Christopher Jarzynski

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American Physical Society awards announced / Four with IPST connections

October 26, 2018. Christopher Jarzynski, Dave Thirumalai, former IPST postdoc Christina Marchetti and UMD alumnus Jordan Horowitz were among the American Physical Society’s spring 2019 prize and award winners. All four conduct research in statistical physics.

Distinguished University Professor Christopher Jarzynski (IPST / Chemistry and Biochemistry / Physics) has been awarded the 2019 Lars Onsager Prize for "...seminal contributions to non-equilibrium thermodynamics and statistical mechanics that have had remarkable impact on experimental research in single-molecule and biological physics, engendering whole new fields of theoretical, numerical, and laboratory research, as well as for groundbreaking work on the thermodynamics of small systems."

The prize is presented in recognition of outstanding research in theoretical statistical physics including the quantum fluids.

Jarzynski joins IPST Distinguished University Professor Emeritus Michael E. Fisher who received the inaugural Onsager prize in 1995 for "...his numerous and seminal contributions to statistical mechanics, including but not restricted to the theory of phase transitions and critical phenomena, scaling laws, critical exponents, finite size effects, and the application of the renormalization group to many of the above problems."

Dave Thirumalai, the Collie-Welch Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded the Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics in recognition of "...the development of analytical and computational approaches to soft-matter systems and their application to the transitional behavior of supercooled fluids and glasses, folding dynamics of protein and RNA biopolymers, and functioning of molecular motors."

The prize recognizes and encourages outstanding interdisciplinary research in chemistry and physics, in the spirit of Irving Langmuir.

Thirumalai joined the University of Maryland in 1985 as an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in IPST and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He was the founding director of the Biophysics Program and was recognized by the University as a Distinguished University Professor in 2010. Thirumalai, who has been at the University of Texas since 2016, focuses his research on developing physical models and theories to understand collective motion of cells, with a particular emphasis on tumor growth.

Cristina Marchetti, IPST Postdoctoral Research Associate working with Bob Dorfman and Ted Kirkpatrick from 1982-1984, was awarded the inaugural Leo P. Kadanoff Prize for "...original contributions to equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, including profound work on equilibrium and driven vortex systems, and fundamental research and leadership in the growing field of active matter."

This prize recognizes a scientist or scientists whose work (theoretical, experimental or computational) has opened new vistas for statistical and / or nonlinear physics.

After three decades as the William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Physics at Syracuse University, Marchetti is currently a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Alumnus Jordan Horowitz (2010 Ph.D. Physics, advisor Christopher Jarzynski) is the co-recipient of the inaugural 2019 Irwin Oppenheim Award for the article "'Proof of the finite-time thermodynamic uncertainty relation for steady-state currents', published in Phys. Rev. E *96*, 020103(R) (2017), which demonstrated significance, rigor, and broad impact in the general area of non-equilibrium thermodynamics." His most notable work on information thermodynamics and Maxwell’s demon has, among other things, sparked a revival in the study of the thermodynamics of nonequilibrium computation.

The prize recognizes outstanding contributions to physics by early career scientists who publish in Physical Review E.

Horowitz, a postdoc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will join the University of Michigan as an assistant professor of Biophysics and faculty member in the Center for the Study of Complex Systems in January 2019.

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