Thomas Witten is a professor emeritus of physics and member of the James Franck Institute at the University of Chicago. After his PhD in 1971 from the University of California, San Diego, and postdocs at Princeton and Saclay, France, Witten joined the University of Michigan faculty. He joined the staff of Exxon Corporate research from 1982-1989 before taking his present position. Witten's theoretical research covers many soft-matter topics including polymers, granular packs, crumpled sheets and chiral colloidal motion. With Phil Pincus he authored a textbook on soft matter physics called "Structured Fluids" (Oxford, 2010).
Witten studies novel forms of spatial self-organization in extensive many-body systems such as thin elastic sheets, granular packs or complex fluids via conventional analysis and computer simulation.