Fradkin, Gruebele, appointed Center for Advanced Study Professors

for Illinois Physics

The Center for Advanced Study (CAS), comprising the U. of I.’s most prominent faculty scholars, has elected two from the Department of Physics to its membership. Eduardo Fradkin and Martin Gruebele are among the seven campus faculty members to be named CAS Professors this year, selected for their outstanding contributions to their respective fields. A permanent appointment as a CAS Professor is one of the University’s highest academic honors.

Fradkin is an internationally recognized leader in theoretical physics, working at the interface between quantum field theory and condensed matter physics. He has made numerous lasting contributions. In particular, Fradkin was one of the first theorists to use gauge theory concepts in the theory of spin glasses and to use concepts of chaos and non-linear systems in equilibrium statistical mechanics of frustrated systems. Fradkin also pioneered the use of Dirac fermions for condensed matter physics problems, particularly in two spatial dimensions.

Fradkin has recently developed a theory of electronic liquid crystal phases in strongly correlated systems and formulated a mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity based on this new concept.

Fradkin is the Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Physics. He serves as the director of the Institute for Condensed Matter Theory at the U. of I. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellow, and a fellow of the American Physical Society. He is the recipient of numerous awards.

Fradkin received his licenciado (master’s) degree in physics from Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina) and his doctoral degree in physics from Stanford University in 1979. He came to the University of Illinois in 1979 as a postdoctoral research associate and joined the faculty in 1981.

Gruebele’s research uses experiments and computational modeling to study a broad range of fundamental problems in chemical and biological physics. A common theme is the use of state-of-the-art laser techniques to manipulate complex molecular systems. The results are contributing to a deeper understanding of the way that proteins fold into functional 3-D molecules; the details of how chemical bonds are broken by vibrational motion and how this can be controlled; and the switching of energy flow in large molecular structures on surfaces. He has published more than 250 articles on topics ranging from quantum computation, to RNA and protein folding in the test tube and inside cells, to fish-swimming behavioral studies.

Gruebele is the James R. Eiszner Endowed Chair in Chemistry and currently serves as the head of the chemistry department. He holds an additional appointment at the Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology and is a member of the Beckman Institute, both at the U. of I. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. He is a fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, and the Biophysical Society. Gruebele is the recipient of numerous awards.

Gruebele received his bachelor’s degree in 1984 from the University of California, Berkeley, with the University Certificate of Distinction and Department Citation for Highest Honors. He stayed on to complete his doctoral degree at Berkeley in 1988. After working as a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1992.