Full Professor emeritus

Thijs Michels

Department / Institute
Applied Physics and Science Education


Thijs Michels is emeritus professor of Theoretical and Polymer Physics at the Technical University of Eindhoven (TU/e) and founded there the group Polymer Physics, later named Theory of Polymers and Soft matter. His general research interest lies in relating, through new and fundamental theory, the properties of disordered and microstructured media to generic physical phenomena. His work has always focused on bridging the fields of theoretical and statistical physics with experiment, with other disciplines and with application. These applications have been very broad, covering e.g. polymer synthesis and mechanical properties, oil processes and products, and conductive polymers such as used in organic electronic devices and solar cells. Since his retirement his main field of interest is complexity and critical dynamics as in the rheology of structured fluids and in induced earthquakes.
Key words in his research are: polymer microstructure-dynamics-properties; percolation, scaling and fractals; transport in disordered media; conductive polymers, charge mobility and variable-range hopping; discotic ordering; glassy dynamics and rigidity percolation; pattern formation and criticality in flow and fracture.

The role of theoretical physics in application-inspired research is in placing the practical problem in a more general context, thus clarifying and addressing it via its essential physics.”


Thijs Michels studied Theoretical Physics at the University of Amsterdam, where he obtained his PhD with honours in 1976. Following post-doc positions at Imperial College (on liquid crystals) and in Amsterdam (on field-theoretical perturbation theory), he joined the Royal Dutch/Shell Research Laboratory Amsterdam (KSLA) in 1979. In 1990 he became part-time professor of Theoretical Physics in Relation to Industry at the TU/e. In 1998, Thijs Michels was appointed professor of Theoretical and Polymer Physics. In this year, he also became Programme Manager Functional Polymer Systems at the Dutch Polymer Institute (DPI), of which he was Scientific Director between 2004 and 2006. He has been active in several national and EU committees on materials research.

Ancillary Activities

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