David Chandler (chemist)

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David Chandler (born 1944) is a physical chemist who is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and a winner of the Irving Langmuir Award. He has published two books and over 200 scientific articles.


David Chandler was born in New York City in 1944. He is Bruce H. Mahan Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his S.B. degree in chemistry from MIT in 1966, and his Ph.D. in chemical Physics at Harvard in 1969. He began his academic career as an assistant professor in 1970 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, rising through the ranks to become a full professor in 1977. Prior to joining the Berkeley faculty in 1986, Chandler spent two years as professor of chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania.

Chandler's primary area of research is statistical mechanics. With it, he has also created many of the basic techniques with which condensed matter chemical equilibrium and chemical dynamics are understood with molecular theory. He provided the modern language and concepts for describing structure and dynamics of liquids, a series of contributions that has allowed quantitative and analytical treatments of simple and polyatomic fluids, of aqueous solutions and hydrophobic effects, and of polymeric melts and blends. He has also developed the methods by which rare but important events can be simulated on a computer, techniques that have culminated in Chandler’s development of a statistical physics of trajectory space. This work has enabled his studies of systems far from equilibrium, including processes of self-assembly and the glass transition.

Chandler’s honors include the Hildebrand and Theoretical Chemistry Awards from the American Chemical Society, the Irving Langmuir Chemical Physics Prize from the American Physical Society, the Bourke and Lennard-Jones Lectureships from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Hinshelwood Lectureship from the University of Oxford, the Hirschfelder Prize from the University of Wisconsin, Mulliken Prize from the University of Chicago, election to the National Academy of Sciences and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was twice awarded a Miller Professorship at the University of California Berkeley. In 2016 he was named Miller Senior Fellow of the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science. He is the author of the textbook Introduction to Modern Statistical Mechanics.