Sir Sam Edwards FRS
Samuel Edwards was a physicist renowned for introducing quantum field theory into statistical physics. This included a now-standard approach to modelling polymer chains as continuous, flexible curves. He co-founded the subject of spin glasses — magnets in which the spins of the component atoms are disordered. He also laid foundations for predicting properties of dense polymer systems, proposing a ‘tube’ model of how these are entangled.
Substances like glasses and gels are described as disordered systems — there is no overall order to their components. Samuel’s insight was to recognise and apply techniques from quantum theory — Feynmann diagrams and path integral methods — to describing the overall statistical properties of these systems.
Amongst Sam’s many awards were the Royal Medal from the Royal Society in 2001, the 1995 Boltzmann Medal of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, and the 2005 Dirac Medal of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics. Samuel was knighted in 1975.
Sir Sam Edward FRS died on 7 July 2015.
Interest and expertise
- Astronomy and physics