Visiting Chair Professor
Professor Erik Luijten studied physics in The Netherlands, where he received his MSc from the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Utrecht University (with Prof. Henk van Beijeren) and his PhD (cum laude) from Delft University of Technology in 1997 (with Prof. Henk Blöte). He has worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research and the University of Mainz, Germany, with Prof. Kurt Binder and at the Institute for Physical Science and Technology of the University of Maryland, with Prof. Michael E. Fisher and Prof. Athanassios Panagiotopoulos. From 2001 to 2008 he was an assistant professor and later associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and (by courtesy) the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since January 2009 he holds a joint position in the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics at Northwestern University, where he also directs the Applied Physics Graduate Program.
Professor Luijten received the 2003 IAPWS Helmholtz Award in recognition of “Fundamental and innovative contributions enhancing the state of the art of computer simulations of theoretical models that are directly relevant to the critical and phase behaviour of aqueous systems.” He also received an NSF CAREER Award (2004) and a Xerox Award for Faculty Research (2006). In 2013 he was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Professor Luijten’s research interests encompass a wide range of topics, with an emphasis on collective behavior in complex fluids and soft condensed-matter systems. Recent work includes colloidal self-assembly, nanoparticles for gene delivery purposes, bacterial self-organization, and data analysis for gravitational-wave detectors. These topics are generally studied via large-scale computer simulations. Highlights of his work include the geometric cluster Monte Carlo algorithm for the efficient simulation of multicomponent fluids, accelerated algorithms for long-range interactions as well as for dielectric effects, elucidation of the critical point of electrolytes, and determination of several novel phase properties of so-called Janus particles.