Professor Glenn Fredrickson's Pioneering Research Receives Materials Theory Award

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Materials Research Society (MRS) has named Professor Glenn H. Fredrickson, PhD, of UC Santa Barbara, as the recipient of the of the 2017 Materials Theory Award for, “pioneering the development of field-theoretic computer simulation methods and their application to investigate and design self-assembling polymers and soft materials.”

One of the most prestigious awards in the field of materials theory, the award recognizes exceptional advances made by materials theory to the fundamental understanding of the structure and behavior of materials. 

“I am truly honored by this award, which is the top recognition for theoretical work by the Materials Research Society,” Fredrickson said. 

The awards ceremony will take place during the 2017 MRS Fall Meeting, November 27 to December 1, in Boston, MA. Fredrickson will receive his award on November 29, consisting of a $5,000 prize, trophy, and citation certificate. 

Professor Fredrickson will be provided a forum to discuss his work during the event, where he will review the development of the FTS method, some applications, and the new opportunities afforded by polarizable and coherent state representations.

“I am excited about two new classes of field-theory models that are amenable to field-theoretic simulations (FTS) – the construct for which I am being recognized by the MRS,” Fredrickson said. “The first class involves soft materials or polymers where the individual molecules or polymer segments have an intrinsic polarizability or permanent dipole in addition to an optional charge or monopole.”

The Fredrickson Group conducts a broad range of research activities in theoretical and computational polymer science, many of these aimed at understanding self-assembling polymers and complex fluids, and especially block copolymer systems. 

“We have shown how to build statistical field theories of such systems that embed dielectric contrast and screening, ion self-energies, and van der Waals interactions in a self-consistent way,” said Fredrickson. “FTS studies of these should be quite helpful in developing an understanding of several emerging classes of polarizable soft media, such as polyelectrolyte complexes, intrinsically disordered proteins, and polymeric ionic liquids.”

A second class of models are inspired by the structure of second quantized field theory, and work by S.F. Edwards and K. Freed that dates back to 1970. 

“We have shown that this ‘coherent states’ field theory representation is a powerful way to describe supramolecular polymer systems,” Fredrickson shared. “Namely polymers containing reversibly bonding functional groups that link via supramolecular chemistry to form complex macromolecular architectures, morphologies and properties.”

Professor Fredrickson has received over 30 honors in addition to the Materials Theory award, and this year has been honored as a Lacey Lecturer at CalTech Department of Chemical Engineering, and the Hiroshi Ito Memorial Award, SPIE, with C. Carpenter and K.T. Delaney. And, in 2016, he received the William H. Walker Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and was an Amundson Lecturer at the University of Minnesota Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.

He is also the author of over 320 scientific publications, with manuscripts recently published in ACS Nano, Macromolecules, Proceedings of SPIE, and ACS Macro.

A UC Santa Barbara faculty member since 1991, he received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Florida, his master’s and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering from Stanford University. He worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories before joining the faculty at UC Santa Barbara. In 2014, Fredrickson was appointed chief technology officer and member of the board of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation in Tokyo.

The award is intended to honor both those who have pioneered the development of a new theoretical approach and those who have used existing approaches to provide significant new insight into materials behavior. Professor Fredrickson was nominated for the Materials Theory Award by Professor Frank Bates of the University of Minnesota. 

Founded in 1973, the MRS consists of more than 16,000 members from 70 countries. The society promotes communication for the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research and technology to improve the quality of life. ChE

Melissa Walker is the Communications & Seminar Coordinator/Faculty Assistant for the Department of Chemical Engineering. 

News Type: 

Awards and Accolades