Sam Edwards (physicist)

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Samuel Frederick Edwards
Born 1 February 1928
Died 7 May 2015
Cambridge, England
Nationality British
Fields physics
Institutions University of Cambridge
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Harvard University
Doctoral advisor Julian Schwinger
Doctoral students Elliott H. Lieb
Monica Olvera de la Cruz
Michael Cates
Known for path integral formulation
polymer physics
spin glass
granular material
Notable awards Maxwell Medal and Prize (1974)
Davy Medal (1984)
Boltzmann medal (1995)
Royal Medal (2001)
Dirac Medal (2005)

Sir Samuel Frederick Edwards FLSW FRS (1 February 1928 - 7 May 2015) was a Welsh physicist.

Early life and studies[edit]

Sir Samuel was born on 1 February 1928 in Swansea, the son of Richard and Mary Jane Edwards.

He was educated at the Bishop Gore School in Swansea, and Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge, the University of Manchester in Britain, and at Harvard University, in the United States. He wrote his thesis under Julian Schwinger on the structure of the electron, and subsequently developed the functional integral form of field theory.

Academic research[edit]

Edwards' work in condensed matter physics started in 1958 with a paper which showed that statistical properties of disordered systems (glasses, gels etc.) could be described by the Feynman diagram and path integral methods invented in quantum field theory. During the following 35 years Edwards worked in the theoretical study of complex materials, such as polymers, gels, colloids and similar systems.

He was Chairman of the Science Research Council 1973-1977 and between 1984-1995 was Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge University. He was a member of the Board of Sponsors of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists[1] and Past President of Cambridge Society for the Application of Research.

Edwards was knighted in 1975. Awards presented to him include the Davy Medal (1984) and the Royal Medal (2001) of the Royal Society, the Boltzmann medal of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (1995),[1] and the Dirac Medal of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (2005). He was also a Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and he held an honorary degree (Doctor of Science) from the University of Bath (1978).

Sir Sam died in Cambridge on May 7, 2015.

Personal life[edit]

In 1953 Sir Sam married Merriell E.M. Bland, with whom he had three daughters and a son.

His relaxations were gardening and chamber music.


  1. ^ Samuel Edwards: Boltzmann Medallist 1995, IUPAP Commission on Statistical Physics, retrieved 2013-02-20 

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