Molecular Physics honors Peter Cummings as a ‘scientific force’ over four decades

While others may have opened somewhat traditional gifts during the 2019 holiday season, Peter Cummings received an extraordinary one:  A singular issue of Molecular Physics, Volume 117, numbers 23-24, honoring him on his 65th birthday and recognizing him as “a constantly innovating scientific force” in molecular theory and molecular simulation for more than four decades.

Peter Cummings, John R. Hall Professor of Chemical Engineering and Associate Dean for Research.

The special issue—Peter Cummings:  A Pillar in the Field of Statistical Mechanics and Molecular Simulation—appeared online Dec. 12, 2019.

“I feel truly honored by this special issue. Many old friends and collaborators contributed excellent work to this large special issue and I am slowly making my way through them,” said Cummings.

“Over the course of 40 years, Peter has come to be one of the central figures in molecular theory and molecular simulation, notable both for his prolific scholarship—including almost 50 papers in this journal alone—and for his outstanding leadership,” said David A. Kofke, co-author of Cummings’ profile and SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Buffalo.

“Peter’s research in molecular theory and molecular simulation has had an enormous impact on the development and application of theory and simulation, and has substantially shifted community attitudes about best practices in molecular modelling,” said Carol Hall, co-editor and Camille Dreyfus Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University.

Kofke said Cummings’ influence continues as he leads the charge for better reproducibility in molecular simulation, helping to set the standards and provide the tools “that will ensure that our field generates knowledge that is of the highest scientific caliber.”

The lengthy personal and professional profile paints a detailed picture of Cummings, John R. Hall Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Associate Dean for Research in the School of Engineering, from early childhood to the present.

The 2,620-word tribute presents his notable career progression but also introduces the many people who were and are his educators, his mentors and friends as well as an exhaustive list of professional affiliations and service, awards and honors, both national and global.

Molecular Physics is a journal that holds a special place for me—it is where I published much of my early work, including my first paper that originated from my undergraduate research,” Cummings said. “I’m especially grateful to the editors of the special issue for their work in pulling this together.”

Molecular Physics is an international journal that publishes original papers in chemical physics and physical chemistry. Contributions include full papers, preliminary communications, research notes and invited topical review articles.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, 615 343-6314