Colloquium in memory of Loup Verlet

22 janv. 2020
Ecole Normale Supérieure (salle Dussane), 45 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris - Paris (France)

Loup Verlet, one of the founding fathers of computational Statistical Mechanics, passed away on June 13th at the age of 88. His early work and PhD thesis at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris were on high energy physics, but he switched to Statistical Mechanics in the late 1950's. His interest first focussed on fluid integral equations, like the HNC equation, the solution of which required numerical programming and possiblyMonte Carlo (MC) sampling. In 1966 Loup, at this times, member of the Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Hautes Énergies at the Orsay faculty, was invited by Joël Lebowitz to New-York. They joined forces with Jerry Percus to lay the theoretical foundations of constant energy Molecular Dynamics (MD) within the micro-canonical ensemble in their celebrated paper. Loup had been well aware of Anees Rahman's land-mark 1964 paper on MD for a LJ fluid. He used the CDC computer of the Courant Institute to develop a code based on two fundamental advances, namely the symplectic Verlet algorithm for the integration of coupled equations of motion, and the use of periodically up-dated neighbour tables, which reduces computational times for system of N molecules from N**2 to N*ln(N). On his return to Orsay in 1967, Loup and his students exploited his MD code, as well as MC codes to investigate many aspects of static and dynamical properties of simple and complex, classical and quantum liquids. The Orsay "bee-hive" attracted many visitors, including Berni Alder, Malvin Kalos, Mark Nelkin, Anees Rahman, George Stell and John Valleau. In 1974, Loup turned his attention to psychiatry, environmental and social issues, and epistemology. On the latter subject, Verlet wrote two influential books, "La Malle de Newton" (in 1992) and "Chimères et Paradoxes" (in 2007). On january22 2020, a meeting will be held in Paris at the Ecole Normale Supérieure to commerate the exceptional contribution of Loup Verlet to computational Statistical Mechanics and his charismatic personality and outstanding human qualities.
Discipline scientifique : Chimie - Physique

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