David R. Nelson

David R. Nelson

  • Arthur K. Solomon Professor of Biophysics and Professor of Physics and Applied Physics

Profile

Collective effects in equilibrium and dynamical many-particle systems present challenging problems in statistical mechanics and condensed matter physics.

Professor Nelson works on theoretical problems in many of these areas, often on aspects involving defects, geometry, and statistical mechanics. His research efforts focus on attempts to gain new insights into fluids, liquid crystals, polymers, phase transitions, glasses, superfluids, superconductors and problems in biophysics.

Professor Nelson has developed a theory of the structure of metallic glasses based on projections from an ideal curved-space icosahedral crystal and has made several contributions to the theory of icosahedral quasicrystals.

He has a long-standing interest in the statistical mechanics of two-dimensional melting. His current interests include the physics of flexible sheet polymers and membranes, entangled flux liquids in high-temperature superconductors, population dynamics, and the statistical dynamics of biopolymers.

Contact Information

Office:325 Lyman
Email:nelson@seas.harvard.edu
Office Phone:(617) 495-4331
Assistant:Jennifer Bastin
Assistant Office:Lyman 325
Assistant Phone:617 495 8852

Primary Teaching Area

Applied Physics

Positions & Employment

Harvard University

  • 2005-Present: Arthur K. Solomon Professor of Biophysics and Professor of Physics and Applied Physics
  • 1997-Present: Professor of Applied Physics
  • 1997-2000: Chair of Physics Department
  • 1992-2005: Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics
  • 1980-1982: Professor of Physics
  • 1978-1980: Associate Professor of Physics
  • 1975-1978: Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows

IBM T. J. Watson Research Laboratory, Exxon Research, Bell Laboratories, and the Mitre Corporation

  • 2005-Present: Consultant

Other Experience & Professional Membership

  • Elected to National Academy of Sciences, 1994
  • Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1988
  • Senior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows, 1986-2003
  • Fellow, American Physical Society
  • Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Honors

  • Kavli Lectureship, Delft University, 2010
  • Primakoff Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania, 2007
  • Mark Kac Memorial Lecturer, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2007
  • Lorentz Visiting Professor Leiden, 2006
  • Sommerfeld Lecturer, Ludwig-Maxilliam University, Munich, 2006
  • Mayent-Rothschild Visiting Professor Paris, Insitute Curie, 2005
  • Mary Upson Visiting Professor, Cornell University, 2004
  • Buckley Prize (for research on soft condensed matter), 2004
  • Bardeen Prize (for research in superconductivity), 2003
  • Welsh lectures, University of Toronto, 2001
  • Harvard Ledlie Prize, 1995
  • Guggenheim Fellowship, 1993-1994
  • National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiatives in Research, 1986
  • MacArthur Prize Fellowship, 1984-1989
  • A.P. Sloan Fellowship, 1979-1983