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Tom Lubensky appointed 2018 Lorentz Professor

Coming spring, Professor Tom Lubensky from the University of Pennsylvania will be the 64th Lorentz Professor at the department of Theoretical Physics. He is a pioneer in the field of theoretical soft matter physics and winner of the prestigious Buckley Condensed Matter Prize. During his stay in Leiden from April 9th to June 9th, Lubensky will give four lectures.

What do foams, membranes and gels have in common? They all classify as soft matter. Soft materials are those that can be easily deformed by external stress, electromagnetic fields or just thermal fluctuations. In other words: everything that is wet, squishy or floppy. Together with a few other scientists, Tom Lubensky has been one of the pioneers who brought soft matter research in the realm of theoretical physics, using concepts of continuum mechanics and quantum mechanics.

Within this research area, Lubensky is well-known for his work on liquid crystal elastomers. These are rubbers containing molecules that can be re-oriented. They hold a large promise for applications such as artificial muscles and temperature-controlled actuators. Lubensky is co-author of one of the most used textbooks on soft condensed matter physics: Principles of condensed matter physics (Cambridge University Press).

Prof. Tom Lubensky will give three lectures on ‘elasticity’ on May 8th, May 15th and May 29th, all at 14:00, plus a Colloquium Ehrenfestii on May 16th at 19:30.

One of Lubensky’s most recent discoveries—together with Charles Kane—is that classical mechanical devices, such as a chain of pendula connected by springs, share similarities with topological insulators and other topological electronic materials. This breakthrough discovery started the field of topological mechanics.

Click here for a list of previous Lorentz Professors, including fifteen Nobel Prize winners.

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