Benjamin Widom

Benjamin Widom (born 13 October 1927) is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Chemistry at Cornell University. His research interests include physical chemistry and statistical mechanics. In 1998, Widom was awarded the Boltzmann Medal "for his illuminating studies of the statistical mechanics of fluids and fluid mixtures and their interfacial properties, especially his clear and general formulation of scaling hypotheses for the equation of state and surface tensions of fluids near critical points."[1]

Benjamin Widom
Alma materCornell University
Columbia University
Known forWidom scaling
AwardsIrving Langmuir Award (1982)
Boltzmann medal (1998)
Scientific career
FieldsStatistical Mechanics
InstitutionsCornell University

Academic backgroundEdit

Widom was born in Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from New York City's Stuyvesant High School in 1945,[2] and received his BA from Columbia University in 1949, followed by his PhD from Cornell in 1953. He became an instructor of chemistry at Cornell in 1954, was appointed assistant professor in 1955 and a full professor in 1963. He was chair of the chemistry department between 1978 and 1981. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1974 and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1979.


  • Theoretical modeling: An introduction. Ber. Bunsenges. Phys. Chem. 1996, 100, 242.
  • Theory of phase equilibrium. J. Phys. Chem. 1996, 100, 13190.
  • Lekkerkerker, H.N.W.; Widom, B. An Exactly Solvable Model for Depletion Phenomena. Physica A 2000, 285, 483-492.
  • Barkema, G.T.; Widom, B. Model of Hydrophobic Attraction in Two and Three Dimensions. J. Chem Phys. 2000, 113, 2349-2353.
  • Weiss, V.C.; Widom, B. Contact Angles in Sequential Wetting: Pentane On Water. Physica A 2001, 292, 137-145.
  • Widom, B. Surface Tension and Molecular Correlations near the Critical Point, J. Chem. Phys. 1965, 43, 3892-3897.
  • Widom, B. Equation of State in the Neighborhood of the Critical Point, J. Chem. Phys. 1965, 43, 3898-3905.
  • Widom, B.; Bhimalapuram, P; Koga, K. The Hydrophobic Effect. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. (PCCP) 2003, 5, 3085-3093.


Widom's niece, Jennifer Widom is the Frederick Emmons Terman Dean of the Stanford School of Engineering and the Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science.


Private lifeEdit

Widom is father to Michael Widom, a professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon University, Elizabeth Widom, a professor of geology at Miami University, and the late Jonathan Widom, a professor of biochemistry at Northwestern University. He is brother to Harold Widom, professor emeritus of mathematics at U. C. Santa Cruz.


  1. ^ "Boltzmann Medallist 1998". Retrieved 2007-10-31. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "The Widom Family Home Page". Retrieved 2007-10-31. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)