Peter Wolynes is renowned for his pioneering research on many-body phenomena in biology, chemistry and physics. In particular, he has shed light on how proteins ‘crumple’ into the specific shapes needed to perform vital biological functions. Peter has also significantly advanced our understanding of the glass state of matter — where the process of cooling molten materials leaves the constituent molecules in a disordered arrangement.
He develops and uses algorithms for the computer simulation of protein folding based on a theoretical model in which the process follows an energy landscape funnel. These simulations can be used to understand protein misfolding and disease. Peter’s work on supercooled liquids and glasses also applies the concept of energy landscapes.