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.
Michael Fisher with Dieter Brill and Daniel Fivel in 2001.
Charles Misner, Michael Fisher, Chuan Sheng Liu and Rick Greene.
Hiking with Dan Lathrop, in 2015.
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