Physics Professor Sharon Glotzer, the Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering has been awarded a grant from the Simons Foundation for her work in theoretical physics. Professor Glotzer is one of 21 scientists selected as Simons Investigators for 2012, the inaugural year of the program.

Professor Glotzer is a leader in the use of computer simulations to understand how to manipulate matter at the nano- and meso-scales. Her work in the late 1990s demonstrating the nature and importance of spatially heterogeneous dynamics is regarded as a breakthrough. Her ambitious program of computational studies has revealed much about the organizing principles controlling the creation of predetermined structures from nanoscale building blocks, while her development of a conceptual framework for classifying particle shape and interaction anisotropy (patchiness), and their relation to the ultimate structures the particles form has had a major impact on the field of “self-assembly”. Professor Glotzer recently showed that hard tetrahedra self-assemble into a quasicrystal exhibiting a remarkable twelve-fold symmetry with an unexpectedly rich structure of logs formed by stacks of twelve-member rings capped by pentagonal dipyramids.

The Simons Foundation is a private foundation based in New York City, incorporated in 1994 by Jim and Marilyn Simons. Their mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences.