Peter Hoffmann

Peter Hoffmann

Adjunct Professor


387 Physics


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Peter Hoffmann


Physics and Astronomy

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

Experimental soft condensed matter physics and biophysics: studies of interatomic & intermolecular forces using atomic force microscopy, forces associated with liquid ordering and bonding in biological molecules, nanomechanics, development of state-of-the-art AFM, undergraduate science education, science writing


  • Vordiplom (BS equivalent) Physics & Mathematics, Technische Universitat Clausthal
  • M.S. Physics, Southern Illinois University
  • Ph.D. Materials Science, Johns Hopkins University

Awards and grants

  • Presidential Excellence in Teaching Award, Wayne State University, April 2009

  • Richard Barber Faculty Award, Wayne State University/ Department of Physics, April 2008

  • Career Development Chair Award, Wayne State University, April 2007

  • College of Science "Excellence in Teaching" Award, 2004

  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2002

  • Abel Wolman Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University 1994-1995

  • "Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes" Fellowship, 1996-1999

  •  Sultana N Nahar Excellence in Teaching Award, Wayne State University/ Department of Physics, 2017

Selected publications

Peter M. Hoffmann, “Life’s Ratchet – How molecular machines extract order from chaos”, Basic Books, 2012

Shah H. Khan, Edward L. Kramkowski, and Peter M. Hoffmann, “NaCl-dependent ordering and dynamic mechanical response in nanoconfined water”, Langmuir 32, 10802 (2016)

Peter M. Hoffmann, “How molecular motors extract order from chaos (a key issues review)”, Rep. Prog. Phys. 79, 032601 (2016).

Shah H. Khan, Edward L. Kramkowski, Peter J. Ochs, David M. Wilson, Peter M. Hoffmann, “Viscosity of a nanoconfined liquid during compression”, Appl. Phys. Lett. 104, 023110 (2014).

Essa Mayyas, Margarida Bernardo, Lindsay Runyan, Anjum Solhail, Venkatesh Subba-Rao, Mircea Pantea, Rafael Fridman, and Peter M. Hoffmann, “Dissociation kinetics of an enzyme-inhibitor system using single-molecule force measurements”, Biomacromolecules 11, 3352 (2010).

Shah Khan, George Matei, Shivprasad Patil, Peter M. Hoffmann, “Dynamic Solidification in Nanoconfined Water Films”, Physical Review Letters 105, 106101 (2010).

George Matei, Steve Jeffery, Shivprasad Patil, Shah H. Khan, Mircea Pantea, John B. Pethica, and Peter M. Hoffmann, Simultaneous Normal and Shear Measurements of Nanoconfined Liquids in a Fiber-based Atomic Force Microscope, Review of Scientific Instruments 79, 023706 (2008).

Courses taught

PHY 1020 “Conceptual Physics” (Lecture)
PHY 2130 "Physics for the Life Sciences"
PHY 2170 “University Physics for Scientists I” (Lecture)
PHY 5750 “Biological Physics” (Lecture):
PHY 3750 “Introduction to Computational Methods”
PHY 6750 “Applied Computational Methods”
PHY 6450 “Materials characterization techniques“(Lecture & Lab)
PHY 7050 “Introduction to Solid State Physics” (Lecture)
PHY 7560 "Soft Matter Physics"

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