Levich Institute Seminar Announcement, 05/10/2011
Tuesday, 05/10/2011
2:00 PM
Steinman Hall, Room #312
(Chemical Engineering Conference Room)

Professor Sharon Glotzer
University of Michigan
Department of Chemical Engineering

"From Aristotle to Onsager and Beyond: Packing and Assembling Tetrahedra and Other Shapes "


The packing of shapes has interested humankind for millennia. We investigate the packing of hard, regular tetrahedra using computer simulation and show that entropy alone can order them into unique structures both simple and unexpectedly complex, including a dodecagonal quasicrystal. These structures can be compressed to packing densities much greater than that of spheres, and as high as 85.63%, the current world record. We Investigate the stability and robustness of the quasicrystal phase, and explore adding interactions to nanoscale tetrahedra, which promotes their assembly into sheets, wires, helices, and other complex structures. We also discuss general design rules for soft matter quasicrystals and other complex structures.


  • Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, October 1, 2009 - present.
  • Professor (with tenure), Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, September 2005 - October 2009.
  • Associate Professor (with tenure), Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, January 2001 - August 2005.
  • Director, Center for Theoretical and Computational Materials Science (CTCMS), Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory (MSEL), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), February 1997-December 2000. Deputy Director, January 1995-February 1997. Acting Deputy Director, August 1994-January 1995. Co-founded CTCMS, August 1994.
  • Physicist, Polymers Division, MSEL, NIST, Gaithersburg, MD, January 1995 - December 2000.
  • Adjunct Professor, Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST), University of Maryland College Park, MD, 1999 - 2000. PhD Advisor, Chemical Physics Program, 1995 - 2004.
  • National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associate, Polymers Division, Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, January 1993 - January 1995. Supervisor: E.A. DiMarzio.
  • Ph.D., 1993, Boston University, in Physics. Advisor: H. Eugene Stanley (NAS).


Assembly of nanoscale systems; supercooled and metastable liquids and complex fluids, colloids, and complex fluids; biomimetic materials design; computer simulation.