A life's research for equilibrium

December 04, 2006

Prof. Joel Lebowitz, head of the Center for Mathematical Sciences Research at Rutgers University, New Jersey, is to receive next year's Max Planck Medal, the highest honor awarded by the German Physical Society (DPG). The gold medal honors the expert in statistical physics for his life's work. It will be presented at the annual conference of the DPG in Regensburg in March 2007.

Joel Lebowitz, born in the former Czechoslovakia in 1930, has been working on statistical physics since the outset of his scientific career. He has focused on heat transport, magnetism and hydrodynamics, among many other areas. Lebowitz has also worked on the "time's arrow" phenomenon. The basic question behind it is why time always continues unstoppably and why physical processes always take place in a single direction.

In their statement, the award judges praise Lebowitz for his important contributions to the statistical physics of equilibrium and non-equilibrium systems, and especially his contributions to the theory of phase transitions, the dynamics of infinite systems and stationary states in non-equilibrium. "He is also honored for promoting new streams of physics and for his great enthusiasm in bringing several generations of scientists to the field." Joel Lebowitz is the editor of Springer's Journal of Statistical Physics and co-author of the Springer mathematics encyclopedia Hard Ball Systems and the Lorentz Gas.

The Max Planck Medal is one of a total of nine awards presented annually by the DPG. It has been awarded for outstanding achievements in the field of theoretical physics since 1929, and is the most important award in this area. Previous award-winners include great scientists such as Max Planck, Albert Einstein and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker.


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