Onsager Professorship 2019 – Medal and Lecture

From left to right: Miguel Rubi, Alex Hansen, Signe Kjelstrup, Daan Frenkel, Erika Eiser,and Dick Bedeaux (picture: Marie-Laure Olivier)

The distinguished scientist selected for the Onsager professorship this year is Daan Frenkel from the University of Cambridge. He received the Onsager silver medal on Nov.7, and gave the lecture “Entropy and complex assembly” in front of a full auditorium.

The Onsager professorship of NTNU is the last honor, in a series of almost 30 honors, awards, or named lectures that Frenkel has received. The formidable list include the highest honor available in statistical physics, the Boltzmann medal in 2016. This autumn we are happy to benefit from Daans deep knowledge in all fields relevant for the vision of PoreLab; to create a non-equilibrium statistical thermodynamic description of flow in porous media.

About the lecture
A holy grail of nano-technology is to create truly complex, multi-component structures by self-assembly. Thus far, much of the experimental work has focused on the entropy-driven creation of “structural complexity” – an approach based on Onsager’s insights.
In Daan Frenkel’s talk, he will discuss “Addressable Complexity”: the creation of structures that contain hundreds or thousands of distinct building blocks that all have to find their place in a 3D structure. 

Even though the relevant interactions in such structures are mainly energetic, simulations yield surprising insights that highlight the importance of entropy in the interaction of particles with many binding sites. 

These principles may even help us find ways to distinguish harmless and pathogenic bacteria.

About The Onsager Professorship
The Onsager Professorship is each year awarded to an outstanding researcher, to honor Lars Onsager. 

Lars Onsager was a Norwegian-American chemist and physicist, who started out as a student at NTH (Norwegian Institute of Technology, later NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology), and later went on
to win The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1968 for his work done in 1931 on irreversible thermodynamics.

The Lars Onsager Lecture and the Lars Onsager Professorship are each year awarded by the Onsager Committee at NTNU.

As the 2019 Onsager Professor, Daan Frenkel is a guest professor at PoreLab Centre of Excellence (SFF) at NTNU and UiO.

Read more about the Onsager lecture and professorship