Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

James S. Langer
University of California, Santa Barbara


"For contributions to the theory of the kinetics of phase transitions particularly as applied to nucleation and dendritic growth."


Dr. James Langer received his BS degree at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University) in 1955 and his Ph.D in Mathematical Physics from the University of Birmingham, England in 1958. He returned to Carnegie Mellon in 1958. In 1982 he became Professor of Physics and permanent member of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He served as Director of the Institute from 1989 to 1995.

Dr. Langer's research generally has been in the theory of nonequilibrium phenomena in condensed matter. His specific areas of interest have been: quantum many-body theory of transport in solids, the kinetics of first-order phase transitions including nucleation and spinodal decomposition, dendritic pattern formation in crystal growth and, most recently, the dynamics of earthquakes and fractures.

Dr. Langer is Chair of the APS Division of Condensed Matter Physics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Adacemy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the APS, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. He is currently serving on the NSF Advisory Committee for the Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, the NRC Committee on the Science of Earthquakes, and the NRC Committee on Condensed Matter and Materials Physics.