This is the most prestigious prize for theoretical physics awarded by the Society. The list of previous winners is truly impressive.
From the press release (Translated from the German) (Nov.11, 2006):
Max Planck medal goes into the USA
Awards of the German Physical Society
Bad Honnef, 15. November 2006 --- In the coming year, Joel L. Lebowitz, head of the Center for Mathematical Sciences Research at the US-American Rutgers University, is going to receive the Max Planck medal, the highest honor for theoretical physics of the German Physical Society (DPG). Born in former Czechoslovakia, the expert for statistical physics will be honored for his lifetime achievements. The Stern-Gerlach medal ...
It follow sections pertinent to the two medals Section: Max-Planck-Medal 2007 Subtitle: highest DPG honor for theoretical physics Prof. Dr. Joel L. Lebowitz (76), Rutgers University, Center for Mathematical Sciences Research Piscataway, US State of New Jersey it follows the citation:
"for his important contributions to the statistical physics of equilibrium and non-equilibrium systems, in particular his contributions to the theory of phase transitions, the dynamics of infinite systems, and the stationary non-equilibrium states. Furthermore he is going to be honored for his promoting of new directions of this field at its farthest front, and for enthusiastically introducing several generations of scientists to the field."
It follows a brief description of JLL's achievements:
Physics of many particles: Joel Lebowitz, born 1930 in former Czechoslovakia, receives this distinction for his lifetime achievement. Throughout his scientific career Lebowitz has been concerned with fundamental topics of statistical physics. This includes heat transport, magnetism and questions of hydrodynamics. Lebowitz also pondered the phenomenon of the `arrow of time.' This is about the question why time only progresses and why physical processes generally evolve only in one direction. All these works bear on the vast field of statistical physics. Its aim is to deduce macroscopic properties of many particle systems --- such as the pressure of a gas or the magnetization of a solid --- from microscopic (atomic) laws.
... This distinction consists of a gold medal
The award ceremony takes place in March 2007 during the central annual meeting of the DPG in Regensburg