March 26, 2012

Johns Hopkins physicist honored with Simons Fellowship

A Johns Hopkins University theoretical physicist has been awarded a Simons Fellowship, which provides the opportunity for a scholar to spend a year away from classroom and administrative duties in order to pursue research interests.

Mark Robbins, a professor in the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, is among 27 theoretical physicists to receive this highly competitive, honorific fellowship.

“I am very excited about the opportunity provided by the Simons Fellowship. Most other funding sources for sabbaticals are tied to a home institution. The Simons Fellowship will give me the flexibility to pursue collaborations with colleagues at a number of institutions as research projects unfold,” said Robbins, who plans to visit the active soft condensed matter groups at the University of Pennsylvania and New York University, as well as experts in polymer science at The Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, and the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.

Robbins also will use the fellowship to follow up on partnerships that arise out of a three-month program, which he is co-organizing, on the “Physical Principles of Multiscale Modeling, Analysis and Simulation in Soft Condensed Matter,” to be held this year at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“Professor Robbins is a world leader in theoretical physics, and in the application of high-performance computing techniques to the study and modeling of a wide variety of physical phenomena,” said Daniel Reich, chair of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins. “We are delighted that through the Simons Foundation, Dr. Robbins will have the opportunity to expand his research program by developing and extending his collaborations with other scientists around the world.”

During Robbins’ sabbatical, half his salary will be paid by Johns Hopkins and half by the foundation, which also pays up to $25,000 for additional expenses related to the fellowship, including travel.

Simons Fellows are chosen based on research accomplishment in the five years of service prior to application and the potential scientific impact of the fellowship. The mission of the private New York City–based Simons Foundation is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. It funds a variety of grants, fellowships and projects. Two Johns Hopkins mathematicians, Christopher Sogge and Joel Spruck, also were awarded Simons Fellowships this year.