A theoretical physicist, Thomas Witten specializes in the study of polymers (found in Styrofoam cups), complex fluids (including paint and toothpaste) and aggregation phenomena (such as the way snowflakes clump together). Witten looks for mathematical laws that govern these unconventional forms of matter. His publications include Structured Fluids: Polymers, Colloids, Surfactants (Oxford University Press, 2004). Witten is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Physical Society. Other honors include the APS 2002 Polymer Physics Prize, and serving in 2010 as the Lorentz Professor at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands. He joined the UChicago faculty in 1989.