American chemist Peter Wolynes of Rice University has been elected a foreign fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, an honor bestowed on fewer than 100 scholars worldwide.
Wolynes is the Bullard-Welch Foundation Professor of Science, a professor of chemistry and a senior scientist with Rice’s Center for Theoretical Biological Physics at the BioScience Research Collaborative.
His research focuses on many-body phenomena in biology, chemistry and physics, and he is one the foremost experts on protein folding; he built a theoretical framework that describes the statistical energy landscapes that govern how proteins fold.
Wolynes received an A.B. from Indiana University in 1971 and a Ph.D. in chemical physics from Harvard University in 1976. He joined Harvard’s faculty a year later, and he also taught at the University of Illinois and the University of California at San Diego before joining Rice’s faculty in 2011.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, a foreign member of the Royal Society and a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Biophysical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Philosophical Society. He finished a three-year term as a member of the National Academy of Sciences Council in July.
His many awards include a trio of prestigious honors from the American Chemical Society: the ACS Award in Pure Chemistry in 1986, the Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry in 2000 and the ACS Award in Theoretical Chemistry in 2012.