The Materials Theory Award, endowed by Toh-Ming Lu and Gwo-Ching Wang, recognizes exceptional advances made by materials theory to the fundamental understanding of the structure and behavior of materials.

Glenn H. Fredrickson, University of California, Santa Barbara

"for pioneering the development of field-theoretic computer simulation methods and their application to investigate and design self-assembling polymers and soft materials"

Field-Theoretic Simulations—From Advanced Materials to Quantum Liquids
Field-theoretic representations of many-body problems in classical and quantum statistical mechanics have been known for more than 70 years, but have largely enabled approximate analytical calculations. Over the past decade, my group has shown that the complex-valued statistical field theory models of classical fluids can be directly tackled by numerical simulation. Such “field-theoretic simulations” (FTS) are advantaged over conventional particle-based computer simulations in a variety of situations, especially dense melts of high-molecular-weight polymers and systems with long-ranged interactions, such as polyelectrolytes. They are also well-suited for multiscale simulations spanning nanometers to microns.

This talk will introduce the construction of field theory models of polymeric fluids and the FTS framework. Two application examples will be provided: the design of uniquely hard-tough-elastic thermoplastics, and the complexation behavior of oppositely charged polyelectrolytes. I will conclude by discussing a “coherent states” (CS) representation of interacting polymers that offers potential computational advantages. A structural similarity with bosonic quantum field theories suggests a powerful new FTS approach to probe superfluidity and other exotic collective phenomena in cold bosons.

About Glenn H. Fredrickson

Glenn H. Fredrickson received BS and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Florida and Stanford University, respectively. He was a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories from 1984 to 1990, and has been on the faculties of Chemical Engineering and Materials at the University of California, Santa Barbara, since that time. Fredrickson has advised a wide range of companies in the chemicals and materials sector and served as Chief Technology Officer of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation during the period 2014–2017. He has been honored with major research awards from the American Physical and Chemical Societies and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.