Cohen Group

Short Biography



Marvin L. Cohen was born in Montreal and moved to San Francisco when he was 12 years old. He was an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley and completed graduate studies at the University of Chicago in 1963 (Ph.D. 1964). After a one year postdoctoral position with the Theory Group at Bell Laboratories (1963-64), he joined the Berkeley Physics Faculty. He became University Professor in1995. He has also been a Senior Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 1965.


Cohen's current and past research covers a broad spectrum of subjects in theoretical condensed matter physics. He is best known for his work with pseudopotentials with applications to electronic, optical, and structural properties of materials, superconductivity, semiconductor physics, and nanoscience.


Cohen is a recipient of the National Medal of Science, the APS Oliver E. Buckley Prize for Solid State Physics, the APS Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize, the Foresight Institute Richard P. Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, and the Technology Pioneer Award from the World Economic Forum. He received the Department of Energy Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Solids State Physics, the DOE Award for Sustained Outstanding Research, the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Certificate of Merit and Outstanding Performance Award, was Faculty Research Lecturer, University of California, Berkeley and Loeb Lecturer, Harvard University, was awarded Doctorat Honoris Causa, University of Montreal. Cohen has contributed more than 700 technical publications.

Cohen is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


In 2005, Cohen was President of the American Physical Society (APS), an organization representing more than 44,000 physicists in universities, industry and national laboratories. He has served as a member and then chair of the Executive Council of the Division of Condensed Matter Physics of the APS; as the U.S. representative on the IUPAP Semiconductor Commission; a member of the National Academy of Sciences Government-University Industry Research Roundtable; Member, U.S. Delegation to Bilateral Dialog for Research and Development in the US and Japan; Member, Science Policy Board of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory and the Science Policy Committee of SLAC. He was a Member of the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics.


Cohen served on a variety of national and international boards and committees as an advisor and advocate for science education. He was Vice Chair of the NAS-GUIR Working Group on Science and Engineering Talent emphasizing the recruitment of women and minorities. He was a featured speaker for the Electron Birthday Project (televised to US high schools) and is currently active in lecturing to lay audiences, K-12 students, and industrial groups.