For more information, please contact Rahul Pandit, Chair of the IUPAP C3 Commission.
The Boltzmann Award was instituted by the Commission on Statistical Physics (C3) of the IUPAP to honor outstanding achievements in Statistical Physics. It is presented by the Commission at the STATPHYS meeting. The award consists of a glided medal (the Boltzmann Medal) with the inscription of Ludwig Boltzmann.
After post-doc years at Yeshiva, Princeton, Rutgers, and Leuven, Herbert Spohn joined
the statistical physics group at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University and later moved to a
chair in mathematical physics at the Technical University, both in Munich.
Spohn’s contributions cover the full spectrum from foundational rigorous work to experimentally
testable predictions. In collaboration with S. Katz and J.L. Lebowitz, he
introduced the field-driven ‘KLS’ lattice gas model with Ising interactions that is nowadays
referred to in textbooks as the ‘standard model’ of non-equilibrium stationary states.
In an earlier paper he proved the ubiquitous occurrence of long-ranged correlations, a result
that rose to prominence many years later in the context of generic scale invariance
and macroscopic fluctuation theory. His 1991 review article with J. Krug on stochastic
growth processes set the stage for much of the subsequent work on the subject. In 2000
Spohn initiated the “second wave” of research on the one-dimensional version of the KPZproblem
that continues to gain momentum to this day. The beautiful and far-reaching
insight on the universality properties of this problem culminated in the publication with
T. Sasamoto of the first exact solution of the one-dimensional KPZ equation. Through
a multi-component version of the KPZ equation, Spohn also unified the understanding
of anomalous transport in one-dimensional fluids. In 1993 Spohn settled a long-standing
controversy about the dynamics of crystal surfaces below the roughening transition showing
that the dynamics can be properly formulated and solved as a moving boundary
problem, an observation that has been tremendously influential in theoretical and computational
materials science. Jointly with J.L. Lebowitz, Spohn showed that fluctuation
theorems similar to those previously established for chaotic systems arise naturally in a
large class of stochastic models, a contribution that marked the beginning of the current
wave of interest in generic properties of non-equilibrium stationary states. Spohn has
made important contributions to kinetic theory of both particles and waves (classical and
quantum), open quantum systems, Schr¨odinger operators and other topics too numerous
to list here. His 1980 review article on Markovian limits related to kinetic theory and the
1991 monograph “Large scale dynamics of interacting particles” are key reference works
in the field.
Herbert Spohn is professor emeritus at the Technical University Munich. Amongst other distinctions, Spohn was awarded the 2014 Georg Cantor Medal of the Association of German Mathematicians, the 2015 Poincar ́e Prize of the International Association of Mathematical Physics, and the 2017 Max Planck Medal of the German Physical Society. He received honorary doctorates from Universit ́e Paris-Dauphine and Universit ́e Paris- Diderot.