David Ruelle, theoretical physicist and professor emeritus at IHES, is among the three laureates of the prestigious Dirac Medal, along with Joel Lebowitz of Rutgers University, USA, and Elliott Lieb of Princeton University.
They have been awarded the Dirac Medal “for groundbreaking and mathematically rigorous contributions to the understanding of the statistical mechanics of classical and quantum physical systems”. The prizes recognizes the important work of the three physicists have done in providing a deeper mathematical understanding of phenomena inherent in statistical physics, such as non-equilibrium systems, chaos and turbulence.
David Ruelle, who specializes in statistical mechanics and chaotic systems, was a permanent professor at IHES between 1964 and 2000 before becoming professor emeritus. This award is the culmination of a career punctuated by important recognitions: the Matteucci Medal, the Henri Poincaré Prize and the Max Planck Medal are among the most recent. Like the other two winners of the prize announced today, David Ruelle also received the Boltzmann Medal.
He is a foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an associate foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a foreign member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Last May, he was conferred the rank of Commander of the Order of Leopold by His Majesty the King of the Belgians, which was presented to him by Ambassador of Belgium to France François de Kerchove d’Exaerde.
The Dirac Medal is awarded annually by the International Center for Theoretical Physics “Abdus Salam” (ICTP) in Trieste to researchers who have made important contributions to the field of theoretical physics. The award is announced on August 8, the birthday of the great physicist Paul Dirac, to whom it pays tribute.
In 2021, Thibault Damour, a permanent professor at IHES, was among the four winners of the Dirac Medal, together with Alessandra Buonanno (Albert Einstein Institute), Frans Pretorius (Princeton University), and Saul Teukolsky (Caltech and Cornell University).