Researcher at UMass Amherst to Receive Highest International Award in Polymer Physics

AMHERST, Mass. - Murugappan Muthukumar, of the University of Massachusetts department of polymer science and engineering, has been awarded the 1998 High Polymer Physics Prize, the highest international award in polymer physics. The prize is presented by the American Physical Society.

Muthukumar was cited for "outstanding theoretical contributions to the fundamental understanding of the statistics of isolated chains, chain dynamics, critical phenomena, and polymer self-assembly."

The High Polymer Physics Prize was established to recognize outstanding accomplishments and excellence of contributions in high polymer physics research, and includes $5,000 and a certificate. The prize, which is sponsored by Ford Motor Co., will be presented to Muthukumar during the society’s national meeting, scheduled to be held in Los Angeles, Calif., in March. During the meeting, Muthukumar will present a lecture, "Entropic Principles of Macromolecular Assemblies."

The society previously honored Muthukumar with the Dillon Medal in 1986. The medal honors young polymer scientists who demonstrate exceptional research promise early in their careers. The society also named him a fellow in 1987.

Muthukumar joined the UMass faculty in 1983. He has been honored numerous times for his enthusiastic and effective teaching, receiving a Chancellor’s Medal in 1997, following his presentation as a Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series speaker. He has also been honored 11 times with the Best Teacher Award by the students in the polymer science and engineering department. Before arriving at the University, Muthukumar was a postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge University’s Cavendish Laboratory. He has been a visiting professor at several universities and international institutes for theoretical physics. He has also received an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. He is currently on a Faculty Fellowship, working at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.