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Engineering’s Cummings receives Prausnitz Award

Peter T. Cummings, John R. Hall Professor of Chemical Engineering, has been awarded the 2013 John M. Prausnitz Award by the Conference on Properties and Phase Equilibria for Product and Process Design.

Peter Cummings

The award, which was presented May 30 in Argentina at an Iryapu jungle conference center near Iguazu Falls, cites his outstanding research accomplishments in the study of water and aqueous solutions in bulk and at interfaces, and the elucidation of the molecular basis for phase transitions in nano-confined fluids. Cummings also presented a lecture at the conference.

The international Prausnitz award is a prestigious honor awarded triennially at PPEPPD conferences. Cummings is the sixth recipient since the establishment of the award in 1998. It honors John Prausnitz, professor emeritus of chemical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, who is often cited as the father of molecular thermodynamics in chemical engineering, and a recipient of the nation’s highest scientific honor, the National Medal of Science.

A member of the Vanderbilt engineering faculty since 2002, Cummings’ research focuses on statistical mechanics, molecular simulation, computational materials science, computational and theoretical nanoscience, and computational biology. He began his teaching career at the University of Virginia, and prior to joining Vanderbilt he was a Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Tennessee. He has mentored 29 master’s students, 30 Ph.D. students and 30 post-doctoral scholars.

Cummings receives the John M. Prausnitz Award at the the Conference on Properties and Phase Equilibria for Product and Process Design.

Cummings is the founder and former director of the Nanomaterials Theory Institute, Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at ORNL. In addition to his research, Cummings is the author of more than 330 refereed journal publications. He was editor of Fluid Phase Equilibria, 2000-2011, and he has served as on the editorial boards of the Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics, the Journal of Theoretical and Computational Nanoscience, and Molecular Physics.

Cummings is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 1998 Alpha Chi Sigma award given annually to the member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) with the most outstanding research contributions over the previous decade, the 2007 AIChE Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum Award, the 2010 AIChE Founders Award, and the 2012 Yeram S. Touloukian Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Cummings is a graduate of the University of Newcastle, Australia, earning first honors in mathematics. He received a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Melbourne, Australia.