Carnegie Mellon University

Robert H. Swendsen

Professor of Physics

Computational Physics
Wean Hall 6410


Prof. Bob Swendsen

Education & Professional Experience

PhD: 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.

Selected Publications

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

R.H. Swendsen,  J. S. Wang, Negative temperatures and the definition of entropyPhysica A 453, 24 (2016)

M. Matty, P. Mansfield, K. Hallinen, J. Albert, R. H. Swendsen, Cluster simulations of multi-spin Potts modelsJournal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment 2015, 0 (2015) 

N. Sivadas, M. W. Daniels, R. H. Swendsen, S. Okamoto, D. Xiao, Magnetic ground state of semiconducting transition-metal trichalcogenide monolayersPhysical Review B 91, 235425 (2015) 

R. H. Swendsen, J.-S. Wang, Gibbs volume entropy is incorrectPhys. Rev. E 92, 20103 (2015)

R. H. Swendsen, Unnormalized probability: A different view of statistical mechanicsAmerican Journal of Physics 82, 941 (2014) 

C. C. J. Potter, R. H. Swendsen, Efficiency and time-dependent cross correlations in multivariable Monte Carlo updatingPhys. Rev. E 88, 53301 (2013) 

R. L. Klatzky, P. Gershon, V. Shivaprabhu, R. Lee, B. Wu, G. Stetten, R. H. Swendsen, A model of motor performance during surface penetration: from physics to voluntary controlExperimental Brain Research 230, 251 (2013) 

T. Bereau, R. H. Swendsen, Optimized convergence for multiple histogram analysisJournal of Computational Physics 228, 6119 (2009)

R. H. Swendsen, Statistical mechanics of colloids and Boltzmann’s definition of the entropyAmerican Journal of Physics 74, 187 (2006)

More Publications:
ORCID  Researcher ID   Google Scholar