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Eminent chemical engineering professor Peter Cummings retires from Vanderbilt

After a 20-year career of research, service and mentorship at the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering, Peter Cummings retired Aug. 15, 2022, and relocated to Edinburgh, Scotland, with his family. Cummings is a globally recognized expert in molecular modeling and simulations, and he has been pivotal in the acceptance of molecular modeling and simulation as an integral part of chemical engineering.

Peter Cummings

Cummings joined the faculty July 1, 2002, as the inaugural John R. Hall Professor of Chemical Engineering. “The generosity of the John R. Hall professorship provided discretionary support for my research for which I am forever grateful,” said Cummings, who was named the school’s Associate Dean for Research in 2013. One of his additional duties as dean was directing the school’s annual John R. and Donna S. Hall Engineering Lecture Series.

As the ADR, Cummings was instrumental in formalizing the conceptual framework of Inclusion Engineering, the school’s mission to recognize IE as a sub-discipline of engineering that focuses on the development and deployment of engineered devices for physically challenged and neurologically diverse individuals. Cummings also has overseen the nomination and subsequent election of six American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows. Two more have been nominated for the current cycle and are expected later this year.

“This has been the most exhilarating period of my academic career. Vanderbilt enabled me to spend significant effort at Oak Ridge National Laboratory where I was one of the founders of the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at ORNL and served as its chief scientist from 2007 to 2013. I thoroughly enjoyed all my interactions with ORNL and the CNMS, while also teaching and conducting research at Vanderbilt,” said Cummings, who began his teaching career at the University of Virginia. Prior to joining Vanderbilt, he held joint positions as a Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Tennessee and Distinguished Scientist at ORNL.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, 615 343-6314