History of the Thermodynamics Conference Series, the Lennard-Jones Lectureship and the Christopher Wormald prize.

(with thanks to George Jackson and Ioannis Economou) 

The Thermodynamics 2015 Conference will be the 24nd meeting in a series of biennial thermodynamics conferences championed in the 1960s by Max McGlashan and Sir John Rowlinson, and initiated in 1964 by Harold Springall (Spring as he was affectionately known to his friends, including Linus Pauling). Although the original emphasis of the science presented at the meetings was on experimental thermodynamics and thermochemistry, the Thermodynamic Conference Series (TCS) now has a wide remit encompassing broad areas of the discipline including experiment, theory, and molecular simulation. The meetings were traditionally held in the UK (see Table 1)


Table 1. The Thermodynamic Conference Series; the TCS Committee Chair is indicated in brackets.

  Year Venue Chair
1 1964 Keele H. D. Springall
2 1966 Exeter M. L. McGlashan
3 1968 Manchester H. A. Skinner
4 1970 Royal Holloway  J. S. Rowlinson
5 1972 Lancaster M. L. McGlashan
6 1974 Leeds L. A. K. Staveley
7 1976 Bristol J. D. Cox
8 1978 Surry  J. D. Cox
9 1980 University College London G. Pilcher
10 1984 Sheffield I. A. McLure & C. J. Wormald
11 1986 Reading M. B. Ewing
12 1988 Leicester Polytechnic R. G. Linford
13 1993 Bristol C. J. Wormald
14 1995 Reading C. J. Wormald
15 1997 Surry C. J. Wormald
16 1999 Imperial College London C. J. Wormald
17 2001 Bristol M. P. Allen (J. P. M. Trusler)
18 2003 Cambridge A. A. Louis (J. P. M. Trusler)
19 2005 Sesimbra E. Filipe & J. N. Canongia Lopes (J. P. M. Trusler)
20 2007 Paris J.-C. de Hemptinne (G. Jackson)
21 2009 Imperial College London E. A. Müller (G. Jackson)
22 2011 Athens I. G. Economou (G. Jackson)
23 2013 Manchester A J Masters (G. Jackson)
24 2015 Copenhagen G. Kontogeorgis, E. H. Stenby (G. Jackson)


The conference was traditionnaly held in the UK until 2005 when the conference was hosted by Eduardo Filipe and José Nuno Canongia Lopes in Sesimbra, a picturesque fishing village 40 km from Lisbon. In view of the great success of the Portuguese conference it was decided to hold TCS meetings in both the UK and continental Europe from then on.

After the faithful, selfless and single-handed stewardship of Christopher Wormald in the 1990s, the TCS began its close association with the Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics Group (SMTG) of the Faraday Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). As an independent organization, the remit of the TCS is the promotion of thermodynamics as a scientific discipline, to improve its techniques, and to advance their application in science and technology through the organization of biennial conferences, bringing together researchers from academia and industry from all over the world. The TCS is managed by a permanent Steering Committee, at present comprising the Treasurer of the Conference Series (who acts as the Presiding Officer of the Committee), the Chair of the SMTG Management Committee, an additional member of the SMTG, a UK-based member, the acting Thermodynamics Conference Chair, the previous Thermodynamics Conference Chair, and members of the International Scientific and the Local Organizing Committees.

Two prizes are currently awarded at the Thermodynamics Conferences: the Lennard–Jones Lectureship and Prize in recognition of outstanding and enduring contributions to the field (see Table 2) and the Christopher Wormald Prize for the most meritorious postgraduate research as nominated by members of the community (see Table 3).


Table 2. The Lennard–Jones Lectureship and Prize.

1982 J. A. Pople SMTG/TCG Joint
1983 L. A. K. Staveley SMTG
1984 N. C. Handy TCG
1985 J. S. Rowlinson SMTG
1986 A. D. Buckingham TCG
1987 J. M. Deutch & I. Oppenheim SMTG
1988 G. G. Hall TCG
1989 P.-G. de Gennes SMTG
1990 A. J. Stone TCG
1991 W. M. Gelbart SMTG
1992 B. T. Sutcliffe TCG
1993 B. Widom SMTG
1995 M. E. Fisher SMTG
1997 D. Frenkel SMTG
1999 E. Sackmann SMTG
2001 D. Chandler TCS
2003 J.-P. Hansen TCS
2005 G. Schneider TCS
2007 R. Evans TCS
2009 K. Binder TCS
2011 H. N. W. Lekkerkerker TCS
2013 K. E. Gubbins TCS


Table 3. The Christopher Wormald Prize for most meritorious postgraduate research.

2003 R. Allen TCS
2005  J. Lachwa TCS
2007 T. Lafitte & E. E. Santiso TCS
2009 F. Martínez-Veracoechea TCS
2011 A. S. Avlund TCS
2013 E. Forte TCS


The Lennard–Jones Lectureship and Prize has a long and illustrious history; it was originally awarded in alternate years by the Theoretical Chemistry Group (TCG) and the SMTG of the RSC, then biennially by the SMTG alone, and now by the TCS. Nominations for the Lennard–Jones Prize are made by the SMTG Management Committee to the TCS during the organization of the programme for the Thermodynamics Conference, at which the recipient of the prize gives a keynote presentation.

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