Physicist shares Onsager Prize

STEPHEN SHENKER, professor of physics and the Richard Herschel Weiland Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, has been awarded the 2010 Lars Onsager Prize for his contributions in the field of theoretical particle physics. His research focuses on quantum gravity, particularly string/M theory, and the application of these ideas to cosmology and the interior of black holes. Shenker shares the prize, including $15,000, with Daniel Friedan, professor of physics and astronomy at Rutgers University. They were both recognized for their “seminal work on the classification and characterization of two-dimensional unitary conformal field theories of critical states.” The Lars Onsager Prize has been awarded every year since 1997 in recognition of outstanding research in theoretical statistical physics.aaas_shenker

Shenker has been a professor at Stanford since 1998 and was the director of  the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics from 1998 to 2008. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard and his doctorate from Cornell, and was a professor at the University of Chicago and Rutgers University prior to coming to Stanford. He has been awarded the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award and fellowships from the Sloan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Onsager, who made significant contributions to statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, was given the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1968.