The 2014 Von Hippel Award, the Materials Research Society’s (MRS) highest honor, will be presented to Marvin L. Cohen, University Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley (UC–Berkeley) and senior scientist in the Materials Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. Cohen is being recognized for “explaining and predicting properties of materials and for successfully predicting new materials using microscopic quantum theory.” Cohen will accept the honor during the Awards Ceremony of the 2014 MRS Fall Meeting in Bosto. There, he will also present his award lecture, Explaining and Predicting the Properties of Materials Using Quantum Theory.
Cohen is recognized internationally as the leading expert in theoretical calculations of the ground-state properties and elementary excitations of real materials systems. His pioneering work on the pseudopotential method has been the critical theoretical tool that has made “first-principles” studies of complex real materials systems tractable. Prior to his seminal work, theoretical studies of solids involved idealized models, but Cohen moved the field toward accurate calculations of real materials. His research provided a standard model that is used throughout the field and is applicable to bulk crystal properties, surfaces and interfaces, and nanostructures. Cohen revolutionized the concept of solids through theoretical studies that resulted in a new understanding of the electronic and vibrational nature of solid systems. This work led to physical theories and computational approaches capable of describing and predicting basic properties of materials.
Cohen has been responsible for several major achievements in the physical understanding of materials; he predicted the superconductivity of semiconductors; he designed new materials using the computer, one of which rivals the hardness of diamond; he predicted a new class of nanotubes based on the Bucky-Balls concept that is being studied experimentally; he has also made numerous predictions of the properties, structure, and phase diagrams of solids at very high pressure.