2008 Holweck medal and prize

Professor Denis Weaire

Trinity College, Dublin

For his creative contributions to condensed matter research which range over the electronic properties of metals and semiconductors, the structure of amorphous solids and the physics of foams.

Professor Weaire has been widely recognised as a leader in the field of condensed matter physics, His contributions in over three hundred publications and several books, involve a combination of theory, simulation and experiment.  His 1994 paper with Robert Phelan overthrew a century old conjecture of Lord Kelvin regarding the ideal structure of a liquid foam. The ‘Weaire-Phelan’ structure is the basis for the construction of one of the most prominent buildings of the Beijing Olympics – the ‘Water Cube’.

Denis Weaire’s career began with important contributions in the physics of amorphous semiconductors. This widely cited work has made a long-lasting impression on the field. His demonstration of the existence of a bandgap for a random network model of amorphous silicon was an important milestone. In due course his insights into amorphous materials led naturally to fundamental research in foams. Weaire has re-invigorated the subject of foam physics where it is now an important subset of the field of complex systems.