Skip to main content

Peter Cummings Appointed John R. Hall Professor of Chemical Engineering

Aug. 21, 2002, 3:45 PM

August 21, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Peter T. Cummings has joined the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt as the John R. Hall Professor of Chemical Engineering.

Cummings, who serves as director of the Nanomaterials Theory Institute within the Center for Nanophase Materials Science at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), is considered one of the top experts in the world in molecular simulation and computational nanoscience. Editor of one of the leading journals on chemical thermodynamics, Fluid-Phase Equilibria, Cummings’s research focus is in materials science, bioengineering and process design.

“Professor Cummings brings a wealth of expertise in nanoscience, particularly in the challenging and developing area of applying computer simulation tools to understand and solve molecular-level chemical engineering problems,” says School of Engineering Dean Kenneth F. Galloway. “His addition to our existing strong cadre of chemical and materials scientists and engineers at Vanderbilt further strengthens our expertise and research capability in this area.”

Department of Chemical Engineering Chair M. Douglas LeVan agrees. "Professor Cummings is well known throughout the chemical engineering profession and related areas for his excellent research and professional service. I expect him to have considerable impact in Vanderbilt’s research programs and interdisciplinary efforts. Also, he is a great teacher."

Formerly Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Computer Science with the University of Tennessee and Distinguished Scientist with the ORNL Chemical Sciences Division, Cummings currently serves as Distinguished Visiting Scientist at ORNL.

Cummings received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Newcastle in Australia and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Melbourne. Following post-doctoral appointments in the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph and the Departments of Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, he joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia in 1983.

He has received numerous awards for his research. Among these awards were the 1996 University of Virginia President and Board of Visitors Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, the 1998 Alpha Chi Sigma Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineering for distinguished research, and the 1999 Lockheed-Martin Research Achievement Award for Sustained Research Accomplishment.

The John R. Hall Professorship in Chemical Engineering was endowed by the Ashland Foundation in honor of John R. Hall, a 1955 Vanderbilt University chemical engineering graduate. Hall is retired chairman and chief executive officer of Ashland, Inc., and is a member and former president of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust. He is also a member of the Vanderbilt School of Engineering Committee of Visitors.

Media contact: Vivian Cooper-Capps, 615-322-2762,
David Salisbury, 615-343-6803,