Professor Michael Fisher FRS

Michael E. Fisher was a theorist who worked mainly in statistical physics, condensed matter theory (especially magnetism and superfluid helium), physical chemistry, and associated foundational and mathematical problems, including Toeplitz determinants. Following thesis work on electronic analogue computers and numerical analysis, his subsequent contributions to the theory of critical phenomena, renormalization groups and phase transitions have been influential. Later, he studied biophysics, especially motor protein dynamics.

Although born in Trinidad, Michael was mainly educated in Britain. Following a professorship at King's College London, he moved to Cornell in 1966, later becoming Horace White Professor of Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. From 1987, he had been at the University of Maryland.

From 1961 - 1975, Michael was among the world's 300 most cited scientific authors. He received the Wolf Prize in Physics (1980) as well as honorary doctorates from Yale, Tel Aviv, the Weizmann Institute and ENS Lyon. He prized his association with the academies of Edinburgh, India, Brazil and Norway, and received Trinidad's Rudranath Capildeo Award for Applied Science and Technology in 2014.

Professor Michael Fisher FRS died on 27 November 2021.

Professional position

  • Distinguished University Professor Emeritus, Institute for Physical Science and Technology, University of Maryland

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics


  • Chemistry

    Chemistry, physical, Chemistry, theoretical

  • Mathematics

    Applied mathematics and theoretical physics

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology

    Biophysics and structural biology


  • Bakerian Medal and Lecture

    On 'Multicritical points in magnets and fluids: a review of some novel states of matter'.

  • Royal Medals

    For his seminal contributions to wetting transitions, dislocation melting and criticality of ionic solutions and many other topics in Statistical Mechanics.

  • Wolf Prize

    In the field of physics for pathbreaking developments culminating in the general theory of the critical behavior at transitions between the different thermodynamic phases of matter.

Professor Michael Fisher FRS
Elected 1971