H. Eugene Stanley: Narrative Biography

(updated version of wikipedia biography)


Gene Stanley was born in Oklahoma City and obtained his B.A. in physics at Wesleyan University in 1962. He performed biological physics research in 1962-1963 with Max Delbruck in Germany (funded by a Fulbright) and was awarded the Ph.D. in physics at Harvard in 1967 after completing a thesis on critical phenomena in magnetic systems under the guidance of T. A. Kaplan and J. H. Van Vleck. Stanley was a Miller Fellow at Berkeley with C. Kittel, where he wrote an Oxford monograph Introduction to Phase Transitions and Critical Phenomena which won the Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Book of 1971. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Physics at MIT in 1969 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1971. He was appointed Herman von Helmholtz Associate Professor in 1973, in recognition of his interdepartmental teaching and research with the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology. In 1976 Stanley joined Boston University as Professor of Physics, and as Associate Professor of Physiology (in the School of Medicine). He was promoted to Professor of Physiology and University Professor, in 1978 and 1979, respectively. In 2007 he was offered joint appointments with the Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering Departments, and in 2011 he was promoted to William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor.

Stanley was chosen to be the 2013 Lorentz Professor at the Univ. Leiden, and delivered the Ehrenfest Colloquium on the occasion of the 100th anniversary. He holds concurrent positions of "Honorary Professor" at East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai University Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Pavia, and at Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest. He has received nine Doctorates Honoris Causa: Northwestern University, Messina University, Bar-Ilan University, Eotvos Lorand University, University of Liege, University of Dortmund, University of Wroclaw, IMT Lucca, and Universidad Federal de Ceara (Fortaleza.Brazil).

Stanley works in collaboration with students and colleagues attempting to understand puzzles of interdisciplinary science. His main current focus is understanding the anomalous behavior of liquid water in bulk, nanoconfined, and biological environments. He has also worked on a range of other topics in complex systems, such as quantifying correlations among the constituents of the Alzheimer brain, and quantifying fluctuations in noncoding and coding DNA sequences, interbeat intervals of the healthy and diseased heart. His publications have received 70,785 citations [61,774 to 1138 articles and 9011 to books] and H=120 is his Hirsch index. Two of his papers were reproduced in The Physical Review, The First Hundred Years: A Selection of Seminal Papers and Commentaries.

Stanley has been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, and has been selected as an Honorary Member of the Hungarian Physical Society.

For his interdisciplinary contributions to physics, chemistry, and biology, Stanley received the 2004 Boltzmann Medal, awarded by IUPAP (International Union of Pure and Applied Physics), the 2008 Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize awarded by the American Physical Society, and the Teresiana Medal in Complex Systems Research given by the University of Pavia. He also received the "Distinguished Teaching Scholar" Director's Award from the National Science Foundation, the Nicholson Medal for Human Outreach from the American Physical Society, a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, the David Turnbull Prize from the Materials Research Society, a BP Venture Research Award (with J. Teixeira), the Floyd K. Richtmyer Memorial Lectureship Award, the Memory Ride Award for Alzheimer Research (with B. T. Hyman) and Zenith Fellowship Award, both for Alzheimer research, and the Massachusetts Professor of the Year awarded by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. He has delivered the Ramanujan Memorial Lecture, Calcutta, John G. Kirkwood Memorial Lecture, Kanpur, Platinum Jubilee Lectures, Indian Academy of Sciences, Karlheinz Schmidt Memorial Lecture, Chiemsee, Germany, Sigma Xi National Lecturer, Centennial Lecturer, American Physical Society, Thirtieth Saha Memorial Lecture, Calcutta, and the Fourth Bose Memorial Lecture, Calcutta.

Stanley has served as thesis advisor to 112 Ph.D. candidates at MIT and Boston University, and has worked with 157 research associates and visiting scholars. With Nicole Ostrowsky, Stanley co-founded a series of NATO Advanced Study Institutes in interdisciplinary physics in Cargese (in 1985, 1988, and 1990). With Francesco Mallamace, he co-directed the 1996, 2003, and 2010 Enrico Fermi Schools of Physics, also on interdisciplinary physics. Stanley chaired the 1998 Gordon Conference on Water and the 1986 IUPAP International Conference on Statistical Mechanics, STATPHYS16. Stanley has served since 2002 on the International Jury for the 500,000 euro ``Women in Science'' L'Oreal-UNESCO Prize.

He was elected chair of the 2008 NAS/Keck Futures Initiative on Complexity, and is a member of the NAS Committee Forefronts of Science at the Interface of Physical and Life Sciences, charged with finding ways for fostering useful collaborations between physicists and life scientists. He also serves on three NAS committees concerned with threat networks and threatened networks.


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