Michael Rubinstein


Aleksandar S. Vesic Distinguished Professor

The research of the Rubinstein group is in the field of polymer theory and computer simulations. The unique properties of polymeric systems are due to the size, topology and interactions of the molecules they are made of. Our goal is to understand the properties of various polymeric systems and to design new systems with even more interesting and useful properties.

Our approach is based upon building and solving simple molecular models of different polymeric systems. The models we develop are simple enough to be solved either analytically or numerically, but contain the main features leading to unique properties of real polymers. Computer simulations of our models serve as an important bridge between analytical calculations and experiments.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Aleksandar S. Vesic Distinguished Professor
  • Professor in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor of Physics
  • Professor of Chemistry

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 3377 Ciemas Building, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: +1 919 660 5365
  • Email Address: michael.rubinstein@duke.edu
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. Harvard University, 1983

Research Interests

Polymer theory and computer simulations

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Nelson W. Taylor Award. Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Pennsylvania State University. 2022

Courses Taught

  • PHYSICS 590: Selected Topics in Theoretical Physics
  • ME 555: Advanced Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 490: Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • CHEM 544: Statistical Mechanics
  • CHEM 543: Statistical Thermodynamics
  • BME 590: Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Huang, Q; Ahn, J; Parisi, D; Chang, T; Hassager, O; Panyukov, S; Rubinstein, M; Vlassopoulos, D, Unexpected Stretching of Entangled Ring Macromolecules., Physical review letters, vol 122 no. 20 (2019) [10.1103/physrevlett.122.208001] [abs].
  • Wang, S; Panyukov, S; Rubinstein, M; Craig, SL, Quantitative Adjustment to the Molecular Energy Parameter in the Lake-Thomas Theory of Polymer Fracture Energy, Macromolecules, vol 52 no. 7 (2019), pp. 2772-2777 [10.1021/acs.macromol.8b02341] [abs].
  • Galati, E; Tao, H; Tebbe, M; Ansari, R; Rubinstein, M; Zhulina, EB; Kumacheva, E, Helicoidal Patterning of Nanorods with Polymer Ligands., Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English), vol 58 no. 10 (2019), pp. 3123-3127 [10.1002/anie.201812887] [abs].