Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Weeks, John D.
Location University of Maryland, College Park
Primary Field Applied Physical Sciences
Secondary Field Chemistry
 Election Citation
Weeks has created the modern theory of fluctuating interfaces through his description of the roughening transition of solid surfaces and his analysis of capillary waves on liquids. He has vividly strengthened our microscopic understanding of crystal growth. He is a coauthor of the standard theory for determining the equilibrium structure of simple liquids.
 Research Interests
Recent research in my group has focused on two main areas. The first studies static and dynamic properties of interfaces, concentrating in particular on theories of crystal growth and the dynamics of steps on crystal surfaces under nonequilibrium driving forces. We have developed general theories describing step bunching instabilities and patterns that form when an array of steps is heated by a direct electric current or when their motion is perturbed locally by impurities with various properties. The second area deals with properties of inhomogeneous and confined fluids. We are trying to develop a new and general treatment of the long-ranged Coulomb interactions in nonuniform ionic and dipolar fluids (water in particular) by mapping properties of these systems to those of a simpler mimic system, with short-ranged intermolecular interactions but in an effective single-particle field that takes account of the averaged effects of the long-ranged interactions. These ideas may provide a better understanding of hydrophobic interactions and solvation in water and may lead to more efficient computer simulations of charged systems.

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