Professor Horowitz will also have appointments in Biophysics and Physics.  Read more about his focus of study on his profile page.  Jordan comes to us from the Physics of Living Systems - Physics Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.   He recently completed postdoctoral studies at MIT where he has been working on non-equilibrium thermodynamics and entropy production. Dr. Horowitz will initiate his research program in the theoretical studies of systems far from equilibrium, where he will explore the tradeoffs between information processing and thermodynamic work.


As we welcome Jordan to the University of Michigan and to Complex Systems, we also have the wonderful opportunity to wish him congratulations on being the first recipient of the American Physical Society 2019 Irwin Oppenheim Award.  The prize is the first APS award established by a Physical Review journal. Support for the prize comes from PRE’s founding editor, Irwin Oppenheim, along with his colleagues and members of the PRE community.

The prize recognizes outstanding contributions by early career scientists who have published their work in Physical Review E (PRE). PRE covers work in statistical, nonlinear, biological, and soft matter physics. Professor Horowitz was recognized together with his colleague Todd R. Gingrich, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, for the article, “Proof of the finite-time thermodynamic uncertainty relation for steady-state currents,” published in PRE 96, 020103(R)(2017), which demonstrated significance, rigor, and broad impact in the general area of non-equilibrium thermodynamics.

Professor Horowitz works on extending ideas about energy, dissipation, and thermodynamics away from equilibrium into the far-from-equilibrium regime.  This is especially relevant for molecular and nanoscale systems, like the protein motors that power life.  At such small scales, the world is very different from our everyday experience, dominated by violent fluctuations and constant energy dissipation. One area of Professor Horowitz’s research on this topic is to understand how these fluctuations interplay with energy dissipation in such miniscule systems, which could lead to improvements in designing devices on the nanoscale.

Cells are an ideal playground for these kinds of ideas.  Inside cells, nearly every process occurs far from equilibrium, continually consuming energy in order to support life. The energy dissipation that drives these processes is inherently noisy. By studying living organisms from the molecular to the cellular scale, this research leads to a better understanding of life.

For more information on the Oppenheim Award itself please click here.