Vanderbilt’s Cummings to receive FOMMS 2018 Founders Medal

Professor Peter Cummings (left) delivered the 2018 FOMMS Medal Lecture July 19 at the FOMMS conference in Wisconsin. With Cummings, from left, are J. Ila Siepmann, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, University of Minnesota, FOMMS 2018 Conference chair; Claire Adijman, Imperial College, London, conference co-chair; and Jeff Errington, University of Buffalo, conference co-chair and chair of FOMMS 2021. (Updated 07/30/18)

Peter Cummings, John R. Hall Professor and associate dean for research, will receive the 2018 FOMMS Medal in July at the seventh triennial Foundations of Molecular Modeling and Simulation conference where he will deliver the FOMMS Medal Lecture.

The FOMMS Medal honors profound and lasting contributions by one or more individuals to the development of computational methods and their application to the field of molecular-based modeling and simulation.

Peter Cummings

Cummings directs Vanderbilt’s Multiscale Modeling and Simulation center, an interdisciplinary research facility in the School of Engineering. His research interests include statistical mechanics, molecular simulation, computational materials science, computational and theoretical nanoscience, and computational biology.

“Peter is one of the handful of computational scientists who are transforming molecular-level simulation from being primarily a way to validate theory or explain experiments to a discovery tool that can function as an equal partner with experiment,” said Carol Hall, Camille Dreyfus Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University, and the recipient of the 2015 FOMMS Medal.

Cummings is recognized globally for his molecular simulations of water and aqueous solutions in bulk, nanoconfined (in pores that are nanometers wide), and at interfaces, revealing remarkable insights into their structure and properties. In 2005, his group developed the most broadly accurate molecular model for water to date. He is an international leader in computational nanoscience, making seminal contributions to understanding phase transitions in nanoconfined fluids, the sliding behavior of carbon nanotubes, rupture of gold nanowires, electrical double layers in supercapacitors and the properties of nanostructured composite materials.

For 20 years, Cummings was associated with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Most recently (2007-2013), he served as Principal Scientist of ORNL’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences. Prior to this, he was the founding director of the Nanomaterials Theory Institute, the theory program within the CNMS, and one of the five principal investigators who wrote the successful $62 million proposal to establish the CNMS.

“In addition to being internationally renowned for research accomplishments in molecular theory and molecular simulation, Cummings has been largely responsible for the acceptance of molecular modeling and simulation as an integral part of chemical engineering,” Hall said.

“I am truly honored to have been chosen as a recipient of this award. Prior awardees, including Carol Hall, have been internationally acclaimed leaders in the field, and it is very humbling to be counted among them. The award is especially meaningful to me, as it is an award from my peers in the field of molecular modeling and simulation.”

The theme of the 2018 conference is Innovations for Complex Systems. Topics include new developments and applications of computational quantum chemistry, statistical mechanics, molecular simulation and theory, and continuum and engineering process. FOMMS conferences attract an interdisciplinary mix of chemical engineers, chemists, physicists, and materials scientists from academia, government laboratories and industry.

Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
Twitter @VUEngineering