Carnegie Mellon University

Robert H. Swendsen

Emeritus Professor of Physics

Computational Physics
Wean Hall 6416


Prof. Bob Swendsen

Education & Professional Experience

Ph.D.: University of Pennsylvania (1971)
B.S.: Yale University (1964)

Professional Societies:
Fellow, American Physical Society
Fellow, AAAS
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
American Association of Physics Teachers

Honors and Awards:
IBM Outstanding Achievement Award (1982)
APS Aneesur Rahman Prize (2014)
MCS Julius Ashkin Teaching Award (2014)

Curriculum Vitae

Visiting Adjunct Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2012–15
Head, Department of Physics, Carnegie Mellon University, 1994–99
Professor of Physics, Carnegie Mellon University, 1984–
Adjunct Professor, Center for Simulational Physics, University of Georgia, 1982–
IBM Research Laboratory Zürich (Switzerland), 1979–84
Post-doctoral Research: Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1976–79
Post-doctoral Research: Kernforschungsanlage Jülich (Germany), 1974–76
Post-doctoral Research: University of Köln (Germany), 1971–73

Research Interests

My main area of research is solid state physics and statistical mechanics, with an emphasis on computer simulations. I have worked especially on thermodynamic phase transitions combining computer simulations with a renormalization-group analysis. I have also been involved in the development of new algorithms for more efficient simulations, to enable the study of problems that would otherwise involve prohibitively long computer runs.

In recent years, I have become involved in simulations of biological molecules. Such simulations require very large computer resources, which limit the problems that can be treated. Our group has developed new methods that have greatly improved the efficiency of some calculations and we are currently extending the range of applications. Other areas of interest include magnetism and crystal growth.

Recent Publications

Robert H. Swendsen, Thermodynamics of finite systems: A key issues review, Rep. Prog. Phys. 81, 072001 (2018)

Robert H. Swendsen, Probability, Entropy, and Gibbs’ Paradox(es), Entropy  20, 450 (2018)

Robert H. Swendsen, The definition of the thermodynamic entropy in statistical mechanics, Physica A, 467, 67 (2017)

Michael Matty et al., Comparison of canonical and microcanonical definitions of entropy, Physica A, 467, 474 (2017)

Joseph Albert, Robert H. Swendsen, Detecting Multi-Spin Interactions in the Inverse Ising Problem, Physica A, 483, 293 (2017)

W. Griffin, M. Matty, and R.H. Swendsen, Finite thermal reservoirs and the canonical distribution, Physica A, 484, 1 (2017)

D. Ron, A. Brandt, and R.H. Swendsen, The surprising convergence of the Monte Carlo renormalization group for the d=3 Ising Model, Phys. Rev. E 95, 05 (2017)

Robert H. Swendsen, Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, and Entropy, Entropy 19, 603 (2017)

Robert H. Swendsen,  Jian-Sheng Wang, Negative temperatures and the definition of entropyPhysica A 453, 24 (2016)

Robert H. Swendsen, The Thermodynamic entropy of a macroscopic quantum system is a continuous function of energyPhys. Rev. E 92, 052110 (2015)

Michael Matty et al., Cluster simulations of multi-spin Potts modelsJ. Stat. Mech. P01026 (2015)

Nikhil Sivadas et al., Magnetic ground state of semiconducting transition-metal trichalcogenide monolayersPhys. Rev. B 91, 235425 (2015)

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