Kurt Binder (born 10 February 1944) is an Austrian theoretical physicist. He received his Ph.D. in 1969 at the Technical University of Vienna, and his habilitation degree 1973 at the Technical University of Munich. He decided to accept a professorship post for Theoretical Physics at the Saarland University, having an offer from the Freie University in Berlin as well at the same time. From 1977 to 1983, he headed a group for Theoretical Physics in the Institute for Solid State Research at the Forschungszentrum Jülich, prior to taking his present post as a University Professor for Theoretical Physics at the University of Mainz, Germany. Since 1989 he is also an external member of the Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Physics in Mainz.
Since 1977, Binder is married to Marlies Ecker. They are parents of two sons.
His research is in several areas of condensed matter physics and statistical physics. He is best known for pioneering the development of Monte Carlo simulations as a quantitative tool in statistical and condensed matter physics, establishing simulations as a third branch in addition to theory and experiment, and for catalyzing its application in many areas of physical research. He made very important contributions to numerous fields, ranging from phase transitions and spin glasses to polymer physics. He is one of the worldwide most cited physicists. The eponymous Binder cumulant is a very important and frequently used quantity in analyzing phase diagrams.
Binder is member of the editorial board of several leading scientific journals as well as of academies of science in Austria, Bulgaria, and Germany.
- Max Planck Medal of the German Physical Society in 1993.
- Berni J. Alder CECAM Prize in 2001.
- Staudinger-Durrer Prize at the ETH Zurich in 2003.
- Honorary doctoral degree of the Marie Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin in 2007.
- Boltzmann Medal of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics in 2007
- First fellow of the 'Gutenberg Kolleg' in Mainz, 2007.
- Honorary doctoral degree of the University of Düsseldorf in 2013.
- Polymer Physics Prize of the American Physical Society in 2020.