Quantum physicist Carl M. Bender is awarded 2017 Dannie Heineman Prize

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2017 Dannie Heineman Prize

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) and the American Physical Society (APS) announced, on behalf of the Heineman Foundation for Research, Educational, Charitable, and Scientific Purposes, that Carl M. Bender of Washington University in St. Louis is the recipient of the 2017 Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics, which is awarded annually to honor significant contributions to the field.

In recognizing Bender, the two organizations cited him: “For developing techniques of classical applied mathematics including asymptotics, perturbation theory, non-perturbative methods, complex-variable theory, differential equations, and combinatorics to solve important difficult problems in quantum theory.”

Carl Bender is a Wilfred R. and Ann Lee Konneker Distinguished Professor of Physics at Washington University in St. Louis. He is also Joint Professor of Physics at the University of Heidelberg and Visiting Professor at King’s College London.

Bender received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1964, and both a Master’s degree (1965) and Ph.D. (1969) from Harvard University.

Over his 40-year career Bender has made multiple discoveries and developed numerous fundamental techniques for solving problems in theoretical physics.

Much of his work has set the standard for approaching problems in quantum mechanics and quantum field theory, such as his findings using the anharmonic oscillator to elucidate the nature of perturbation theory, a key method for solving complex quantum systems.

Bender credits his creative abilities to what he’s learned from his mentors and colleagues, including Steven Orszag of Yale University and Gerrald Guralnik of Brown University.

In fact, both T.T. Wu, his advisor in practice, and Sidney Coleman, his official thesis advisor, are previous recipients of the Heineman prize.

The book Bender co-authored with Orszag, Advanced Mathematical Methods for Scientists and Engineers, has been in print since 1978 and served as a reference in countless graduate-level physics courses.

Bender also credits much of his success to his wife, Jessica, whom he asks to review and edit his written work. He has a deep appreciation for what he describes as the absolute importance of effective communication in science.

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News source: American Institute of Physics.
Figure legend: This Knowridge.com image is credited to Bender.