Biography

Peter Hoffmann, Ph.D.

Peter M. Hoffmann, a native of Germany, is a researcher in soft matter and biophysics, a professor of physics and materials science at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, and a science writer. His research specializes in nanomechanics and the statistical behavior of nanoscale systems. His main research tools are atomic force microscopy and computer simulations. He has strong interests in science teaching practice: He is a Co-PI on NSF funded WIDER and IUSE grants and leads the reform of introductory as well as upper-level physics courses at Wayne State University. He has a keen interest in the public understanding of science: His first popular science book, “Life’s Ratchet”, on the physics of molecular machines in our cells, was published in 2012. It was long-listed for the Royal Society Winton prize, was a 2012 top ten physics book for the UK Institute of Physics, and a 2012 top five book according to the American Physical Society. He also writes for Nautilus, a literary science magazine. Dr. Hoffmann did his undergraduate studies in physics and mathematics in Germany, holds an MS degree in physics from Southern Illinois University and received a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Before joining Wayne State University, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford in the UK. He was the creator and founding director of the Wayne State Biomedical Physics Program from 2007-2012, Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 2012-2015, and Senior Associate Dean of Research 2015-2017.

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