Leo Kadanoff

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Leo Philip Kadanoff (born January 14, 1937 in New York City , New York , † October 26, 2015 in Chicago , Illinois ) was a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Chicago .


Leo Kadanoff graduated (1958, Master Degree) and received his doctorate in 1960 at Harvard University . After a two-year post-doctoral period at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen , he became an assistant professor at the University of Illinois in 1962 , where he became an associate professor in 1963 and a professor in 1965 (his areas of work at that time were initially the theory of superconductivity and, on the side, work on Ballistic missile heat shields ). In 1965 he was visiting professor at Cambridge University . In 1966/67 he did pioneering work in the theory of phase transitions (scaling behavior, universality). From 1963 to 1967 he was a Sloan Research Fellow . 1969 to 1978 he was a professor at Brown University , where he applied methods of statistical mechanics to models of urban growth (applied to planning work in Rhode Island from 1973 to 1978) and continued research in solid-state physics . From the mid-1970s he turned back to the investigation of phase transitions, this time also in quantum field theory and lattice range theories (Migdal-Kadanoff recursion relations, among others). From 1978 he was a professor at the University of Chicago ( MacArthur Professor ). From 1981 to 1984 and 1994 to 1997 he was director of the Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Chicago. In the 1980s, his interest also turned to chaos theory , disordered systems and the theory of turbulence . He wrote several well-known textbooks and review articles and was also popularized by columns e.g. B. known in Physics Today .

In 1980 he received the Wolf Prize for Physics for his work on the theory of phase transitions , together with Kenneth Wilson and Michael E. Fisher . In 1977 he received the Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize , the Elliott Cresson Medal in 1986 and the Boltzmann Medal in 1989 . He received the Lars Onsager Prize and the Grande médaille de l'Académie des sciences in 1998 and the National Medal of Science in 1999 . He received the Quantrell Prize from the University of Chicago for his educational achievements. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences (from 1978), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society . In 2006 he received the Lorentz Medal and in 2011 the Isaac Newton Medal .

In 2007 Leo Kadanoff was President of the American Physical Society .

Works (selection)

  • From order to chaos I, II - essays, critical, chaotic and otherwise . World Scientific 1993, ISBN 981-02-1198-8 , Vol. 2 1999, ISBN 981-02-3434-1
  • Statistical Physics - Statics, dynamics and renormalization . World Scientific 2000, ISBN 981-02-3764-2
  • Application of Renormalization Group techniques to quarks and strings . In: Reviews of Modern Physics . 1977, pp. 267-296
  • with Gordon Baym : Quantum statistical mechanics . Benjamin 1962

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