Erik Luijten Named Chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Luijten will succeed Michael Bedzyk on September 1

Erik Luijten, professor of materials science and engineering and of engineering sciences and applied mathematics, has been named the chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, effective September 1. Luijten succeeds chair and professor Michael Bedzyk.

Erik Luijten“I want to thank Mike Bedzyk for his service to the department and the McCormick School,” said Dean Julio M. Ottino. “Under his leadership, the department continued on an excellent trajectory and is poised for future success. I am confident that Erik will provide strong leadership as the department continues to stand as one of the very best of its kind in the world.”

Over the past ten years, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering has added a number of new faculty at both the junior and senior levels. Its faculty members have led many University-wide initiatives and have been recognized with such honors such as membership in the National Academy of Sciences, a MacArthur Fellowship, Presidential Early Career Awards, and a Sloan Research Fellowship.

“The department represents a true realization of the type of interdisciplinary research that is close to my heart, and the faculty pursue it at a level that continues to impress me on a daily basis,” Luijten said. “The department also stands out as a collegial and positive environment, making me honored to serve in this position. I am confident that we can grow in excellence in terms of both research and teaching.”

With a courtesy appointment in physics and astronomy at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Luijten directs Northwestern’s Applied Physics Graduate Program. In his research group, the Computational Soft Matter Lab, he uses computer simulations to investigate the collective behavior in complex fluids and soft condensed-matter systems.

Before joining Northwestern in January 2009, Luijten was an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his master’s degree in physics from Utrecht University and his PhD in physics from Delft University of Technology — both in the Netherlands — and then completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, the University of Mainz in Germany, and the University of Maryland.

Luijten has received various awards, including the Xerox Award for Faculty Research, an NSF CAREER Award, and the 2003 Helmholtz Award from the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam. He is also a fellow of the American Physical Society.