Lorentz Medal awarded to physicist Daan Frenkel

Daan Frenkel, emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge, is receiving the award from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) for his pioneering and innovative work in theoretical physics.

The Lorentz Medal 2022 award ceremony will take place on 10 November 2022 in Leiden in cooperation with the Lorentz Center and as part of Leiden European City of Science 2022.


The use of computer simulations to map molecular systems may be a no-brainer today, but it was not self-evident a few decades ago. One of the driving forces behind a ‘quiet revolution’, Frenkel pioneered the use of creative computer simulations to mimic chemical and physical processes. Frenkel's research forms the basis of a large number of theoretical and experimental studies on the behavior of suspensions: liquids containing insoluble spherical, rod-shaped and plate-shaped particles.


Frenkel is considered one of the most creative and versatile computer physicists in the world, preferring to simplify rather than complicate his models. In many of his scientific breakthroughs, Frenkel used surprisingly simple code, according to his peers. Frenkel's research is not limited to theoretical physics. It has also resulted in innovative insights in related fields including chemistry, biology and crystallography. Frenkel was recently involved in a publication that – based on his earlier work – proposes a new method for detecting the DNA of different pathogens.


About the Lorentz Medal
The Lorentz Medal is awarded every four years to a researcher who has made groundbreaking contributions to theoretical physics. The Academy established the Lorentz Medal on 11 December 1925, the year in which Hendrik Antoon Lorentz celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his doctorate. Lorentz (1853-1928), a Nobel laureate, was the founding father of theoretical physics in the Netherlands. More than half of the laureates later won the Nobel Prize.

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