Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Christopher Jarzynski
University of Maryland, College Park


"For seminal contributions to non-equilibrium thermodynamics and statistical mechanics that have had remarkable impact on experimental research in single-molecule and biological physics, engendering whole new fields of theoretical, numerical, and laboratory research, as well as for groundbreaking work on the thermodynamics of small systems."


Christopher Jarzynski received his A.B. degree from Princeton University in 1987, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1994, both in physics. For his doctoral dissertation, he studied adiabatic invariants in chaotic classical systems. He spent ten years at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and since 2006 he has been at the University of Maryland, College Park. Jarzynski is a Distinguished University Professor of chemistry and biochemistry, with joint appointments in the Institute for Physical Science and Technology, and the Department of Physics. His research is primarily in the area of nonequilibrium statistical physics, where he has contributed to an understanding of how the laws of thermodynamics apply to nanoscale systems. In 1997, he derived an equality that relates nonequilibrium fluctuations to equilibrium free energy differences, a result that has been verified in numerous experiments and has found applications in biophysics and computational chemistry. His current interests also include the thermodynamics of information processing, and shortcuts to adiabaticity in quantum, classical and stochastic systems. He has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and the Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Selection Committee:

2019 Selection Committee Members: David Egolf (Chair), Catherine Kallin, Uwe Tauber, Cynthia Reichhardt