Prize Recipient

George Benedek
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


"For his outstanding invention of dynamic light scattering spectroscopy and its fundamental applications to critical phenomena, macromolecular transport, and ocular diseases."


Benedek received his Ph D in physics from Harvard University in 1953 and spent two years on the research staff at the Mass. Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory before joining the Harvard faculty, initially as a lecturer and then as an assistant professor of applied physics. He moved to MIT in 1965, where he is presently the Alfred H. Caspary Professor of Physics and Biological Physics. In addition to his research and teaching activities, he co-founded the Oculon Corporation in 1988 and presently serves on its Board of Directors.

Benedek invented quasi-elastic light scattering spectroscopy, a technique which allows determination of the diffusion coefficient of synthetic polymers, biopolymers and their assemblies, as well as many other phenomena-related motions. The technique is now one of the most powerful tools in the chemical, physical and biological sciences and medicine. Applications include observations of critical density fluctuations of liquid; velocity measurements; blood flow measurements; clinical diagnosis of the cataractous lens; and flow cell determination in the anterior chamber. As an educator, he founded the Division of MIT-Harvard Health Sciences and Technology, and co-authored a three-volume textbook of physics for biomedicallyoriented students which has been translated into several languages.