The Lars Onsager Lecture and Professorship

Lars Onsager Lecture and Professorship, banner

Lars Onsager (1903–1976)

Lars Onsager, 1968Lars Onsager as at student at NTH, 1920Lars Onsager was a Norwegian-American chemist and physicist. Onsager was born in Oslo. He held a Ch.E. degree (1925) from NTH (Norwegian Institute of Technology, later NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology).

Onsager migrated to the USA in 1928, and became an American citizen in 1945. Onsager was a J. Willard Gibbs Professor at Yale University.

Onsager was awarded the The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1968 for his work done in 1931 on irreversible thermodynamics.


Lars Onsager Lecture

Professor Edvard Moser, NTNUProfessor May-Britt Moser, NTNUPresent Lars Onsager Lecture:
May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser

Professor May-Britt Moser and Professor Edvard Moser, NTNU (Nobel Laureates in Medicine or Physiology 2014), will present their Lars Onsager Lecture on:

For further information, please contact Professor Helge Holden, NTNU.

Previous Onsager Lecturers


Lars Onsager Professorship

Professor Jian-Min ZuoPresent Onsager Professor: 
Jian-Min Zuo

The Lars Onsager Professorship for 2017 has been awarded to Professor Jian-Min Zuo, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.

Jian-Min Zuo presented the Lars Onsager Lecture with title Topological Defects in Mesoscopic and Complex Crystals on Friday, March 24, 2017, at 14:15 in R10, Natural Sciences Building, as part of the Physics Friday Colloquia.

On this occasion Jian-Min Zuowill was presented with the Onsager Medal.

Abstract: Recent experiments have revealed new forms and new dynamics of topological defects in mesoscopic and complex crystals, such as flux-closure ferroelectric vortices in oxide superlattices, magnetic skyrmions in thin-films, dislocations and grain boundaries in graphene.

At the same time, the development of new multiple components materials, such as high entropy alloys, challenges our traditional understanding of crystal defects and presents opportunities for the discovery of new physics.

In this talk, I will describe how the development of electron microscopy has enabled the study of topological defects in mesoscopic and complex crystals.

Two examples will be highlighted, one is vortices in ferroelectric crystals and the other is dislocation dynamics in high entropy alloys; their observation represents the success stories of modern transmission electron microscopy.

For further information, please contact Professor Randi Holmestad, NTNU or Professor Helge Holden, NTNU.

Previous Lars Onsager Professors


The Onsager Medal

The Onsager Lecturer and the Onsager Professor receive the Onsager Medal.

The Onsager Medal, obverse and reverse

Artist: Harald Wårvik. Minted by The Mint of Norway (Det Norske Myntverket), Kongsberg, Norway.

The Lars Onsager Archive

Thanks to the generosity of Lars Onsager's sons and daughter, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has established a Lars Onsager Archive.

The Lars Onsager Archive is located at the Dora Library (a repository library for the NTNU University Library) and the Gunnerus Library (the Special Collections of the NTNU University Library) in Trondheim, Norway.

A substantial part of the archive has now been made freely available in digital form:

Lars Onsager Archive

Biographical Material

A general reference to the scientific works of Lars Onsager is:

  • The Collected Works of Lars Onsager (with commentary) 
    P.C. Hemmer, H. Holden, S.K. Ratkje, editors
    World Scientific, Singapore 1996
  • A biography on Lars Onsager (pdf)
    by P.C. Hemmer and E. Hiis Hauge is printed in the book «Norwegian Nobel Prize Laureates», (Olav Njølstad, ed.), Universitetsforlaget, 2006.
  • In Norwegian: Boken er også utgitt på norsk, «Norske nobelprisvinnere», (Olav Njølstad, red.) Universitetsforlaget, 2005.

Lars Onsager in Wikipedia

The Onsager Committee

The Lars Onsager Lecture and the Lars Onsager Professorship are awarded by the Onsager Committee which consists of:

  • Professor Helge Holden (Chairman), Department of Mathematical Sciences, NTNU (01.01.05 - 31.12.10)
  • Professor Arne Brataas, Department of Physics, NTNU (01.09.08 - 31.12.10)
  • Professor George Stell, Department of Chemistry, State University of New York, Stony Brook (01.01.05 - 31.12.10)

Regulations for the Lars Onsager Lecture and the Lars Onsager Professorship (in Norwegian).

The Nobel Prize 1968

Video at YouTube: King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden, Lars Onsager and other nobilities og prize winners.


Yale University

Lars Onsager, Yale University

Lars Onsager in his office at the Sterling Chemistry Laboratory at Yale University.


Onsager stamp

Lars Onsager on stamp, 2003

Lars Onsager on stamp. Norwegian Post's 2003 series of stamps with Nobel Laureates.