Michael E. Fisher, 1931-2021

Michael Ellis Fisher, an eminent scientist whose interests spanned condensed matter theory, statistical mechanics, chemistry, mathematics and bioscience, died on November 26, 2021 at age 90.

Born in Trinidad, Fisher received his Ph.D. in 1957 at King’s College, London. He worked there as a lecturer, reader and professor until accepting an appointment at Cornell University.  He was the Horace White Professor of Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics at Cornell University until joining the University of Maryland in 1987. At UMD, he was jointly appointed in the Institute for Physical Sciences and Technology and the Department of Physics, and was a University System of Maryland Regents Professor, a Distinguished University Professor and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher.

Fisher was a Fellow of the Royal Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. He was a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences. Among his many awards were the Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics, the Boltzmann Medal in Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics and the Hildebrand Award of the American Chemical Society. Fisher received the inaugural American Physical Society Lars Onsager Prize for statistical physics in 1995.

Known both for his attention to detail and for his broad approach to understanding the world, Fisher was commended by the Wolf Prize in Physics committee in 1980 “for bringing together, and teaching a common language to, chemists and physicists working on diverse problems of phase transitions.”   

Fisher retired in 2012, and a two-day UMD symposium honored his many achievements. In 2015, he was a special guest at the Conversations with Icons in Science conference in Port of Spain, Trinidad.


A memorial has not yet been announced.
The IPST remembrance is posted here: https://ipst.umd.edu/news/distinguished-university-professor-emeritus-michael-e-fisher-1931-2021



Sankar Das Sarma Named Highly Cited Researcher

Sankar Das Sarma has again been included on Clarivate Analytics list of Highly Cited Researchers, a compilation of influential names in science.

Das Sarma is the Richard E. Prange Chair of Physics, the Director of the Condensed Matter Theory Center and a Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute

After receiving his Ph.D. from Brown University in 1979—studying under UMD alumnusSankar Das SarmaSankar Das Sarma John Quinn (Ph.D., '58)—Das Sarma joined the UMD faculty in 1982. He was named a Distinguished University Professor in 1995, and in 2008 received the Kirwan Faculty Research Prize for his groundbreaking work in topological quantum computing.

In 2013, Das Sarma received the CMNS Distinguished Faculty Award in recognition of his stellar career. In 2020, a paper he co-wrote was included in Physical Review B's list of the "milestone" papers published in its first 50 years of existence. 

Das Sarma has been included in all previous listings of highly-cited researchers: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2001.

College Park Professor Chris Monroe also appeared on the list.

Janet Das Sarma Memorial CMTC Conference Scheduled for December

The 2021 Janet Das Sarma Memorial CMTC Conference, a scientific gathering in memory of Janet Das Sarma, will be held on Dec. 18, 2021, at The Hotel at UMD. For years, Janet played a crucial behind-the-scenes role in the growth, development and success of the Condensed Matter Theory Center at the University of Maryland, working up until her death on December 2, 2019. 
This one-day conference will include eight scientific talks covering frontier areas of condensed matter physics that have been the center of activity at CMTC, delivered by scientists who knew Janet the longest. The talks will be followed by a dinner and formal remembrances of Janet by the attendees, celebrating her role in the success of CMTC. The plan is for attendees to arrive on Friday, December 17 and depart on Sunday, December 19.
Space is limited, so please contact Rebecca Cawthorne at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in attending. All local expenses (hotel, food, coffee breaks, etc.) will be covered by CMTC. For those who want to spend a few extra days at CMTC doing physics, the appropriate office space will be made available.

For more information, please click here.

Jim Glanz to Give Milchberg Lecture on Nov. 16

Jim Glanz, a New York Times reporter who holds a Ph.D. in Astrophysical Sciences from Princeton University, will give the second Irving and Renee Milchberg Endowed Lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 4 p.m. in room 1412 of the Toll Physics Building. His talk, The Public Relations Machine in Science: A Self-Inflicted Wound?  is free and open to the public, with refreshments served at 3:30 p.m. 

Glanz' writing career began at Research and Development, before he moved to Science magazine in 1995. In 1998, he broke the story of the discovery of dark energy and the accelerating expansion of the universe, describing the findings of Adam Riess, Brian Schmidt and Saul Perlmutter, who were awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics for this work.Jim GlanzJim Glanz

Glanz joined the New York Times in 1999 as a science reporter.  After the September 11, 2001 attacks, he wrote extensively on the design, construction and collapse of the World Trade Center twin towers. He received the Excellence in Journalism Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2002. Pieces he wrote with fellow Times reporter Eric Lipton about the towers were part of the "Nation Challenged" package that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2002.

Now a reporter on the Investigations desk, he helps untangle and explain a wide range of natural and technological complexities, such as the splitting of an Italian bridge that killed 43 people, the collapse of a Mexico City Metro overpass that killed 26, various aspects of COVID mutations and transmission, design decisions on the ill-fated Boeing 737 Max, and the dispersal of hundreds of tons of lead over Paris when Notre Dame Cathedral burned. 

The Irving and Renee Milchberg Endowed Lectureship was established by Prof. Howard Milchberg and his wife Rena, to remember Howard's parents, who survived the Holocaust and the distortions of truth that accompanied and facilitated it.  Milchberg’s mother and father, who died in 2017 and 2014, respectively, never received formal education, but Milchberg describes them as “remarkably open-minded and tolerant” and as “wide-ranging thinkers and skeptics.” 

This is the second Milchberg lecture; the first lecture was given in 2019 by Susan Eisenhower.  

For further information: https://science.umd.edu/events/milchberg-2021.html