Chemist honored with ACS symposium

September 18, 2017

The American Chemical Society hosted a symposium at its annual meeting in August in celebration of the 90th birthday of Ben Widom, emeritus professor of chemistry and chemical biology.

“Liquid Theory: In Honor of Ben Widom’s 90th Birthday, “was organized by Dor Ben-Amotz, professor at Purdue University; Kenichiro Koga, professor at Okayama University; and Cornell Professor Roger Loring.

Widom earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia and his doctoral degree from Cornell.

A faculty member for more than half a century, Widom was also honored in 2015 with a special issue of the journal Molecular Physics. In the issue's foreword, journal editor Jean-Pierre Hansen and University of Oxford chemist Sir John Rowlinson call Widom "one of the most respected and influential figures in theoretical chemistry and statistical mechanics, worldwide."

Widom is perhaps best known for his work toward understanding the properties of substances near the critical point -- the point at which two phases of the substance (water and water vapor, for example) lose their distinguishing features and behave as one, or at a tricritical point, where three previously distinct phases lose their separate identities.

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