The Berne Group

Bruce J. Berne

Higgins Professor of Chemistry


Ph.D. in chemical physics, University of Chicago (1964)

B.S. in chemistry, Brooklyn College (1961)


Tel: (212) 854-2186

Fax: (212) 854-7454

About Professor Berne

Bruce J. Berne was born in Brooklyn, NY. He received his BS in Chemistry from CUNY, Brooklyn in 1961 and his PhD in Chemical Physics from the University of Chicago in 1964. He was a NATO postdoctoral fellow at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in 1965 with Ilya Prigogine working on problems in the theory of irreversible processes. He joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1966 receiving tenure there in 1969. He was a Guggenheim Fellow at the University of Tel Aviv in 1973, Miller Institute Professor at UC Berkeley in 1994, and Humboldt researcher at the University of Augsburg, Germany in 1992. With brief sojourns elsewhere he has spent his entire academic career at Columbia University.


His major early contribution was to show how to use memory functions to model the non-Markovian dynamics of liquids. Shortly after arriving at Columbia he and his student George Harp developed the methodology for and performed the first molecular dynamics simulation ever done on a molecular liquid. He has published almost 350 publications and four books and made seminal contributions to time-correlation and memory function theory, the theory of light scattering, new methodologies in both classical and quantum Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics, reaction rate theory, the theory of quantum liquids, the small and large scale hydrophobic effect, the design of polarizable force fields for water and complex molecules, and recently the biophysics of proteins and especially protein-ligand binding.

Berne was Sackler Distinguished Lecturer, University of Tel Aviv (1985), Reilly Lecturer, Notre Dame (1997), Davidson Lecturer, U Kansas (1998), Moscowitz Memorial Lecturer, U Minnesota (1999), Gomberg Lecturer, U Michigan (2000), Joseph O. Hirschfelder Lecturer, U. Wisconsin (2001), Franklin Lecturer, Rice U (2004), Palke Lecturer, UCSB (2007), Mulliken Lecturer, U. Chicago (2009), Pitzer Lecturer, UC Berkeley (2012), Arthur D. Little Lecturer, MIT (2013), and Aneesur Rahman Lecturer, Argonne Nat. Lab., (2013). Berne was Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow (1967-70), and John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow (1972). He received the Alexander von Humbold-Stiftung Senior Scientist Award (1992); the ACS National Award in Theoretical Chemistry (1995); the Joel Henry Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical and Experimental Chemistry of Liquids of the American Chemical Society (2002); the Joseph O. Hirschfelder Prize in Theoretical Chemistry, U. Wisconsin (2001): the IBM Research Achievement Award (2005 and 2007); the Mulliken Medal, U. Chicago (2009); The Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry Award of the American Chemical Society (2017). Berne is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.

For more details about Professor Berne's career, please see his curriculum vita.