The origin of computational Statistical Mechanics in France

Abstract : The two main methodologies of computational Statistical Mechanics, namely the stochastic Monte Carlo and the deterministic Molecular Dynamics methods, were developed in the USA in the mid nineteen fifties. In the present paper we show how these "computer ex-periments" migrated to Europe in the sixties, and first bloomed at the Orsay Science Faculty, before spreading throughout Europe. Collaborations between the Orsay group, led by Loup Verlet, and pioneering groups in the USA and Europe are pointed out. Finally it is shown how the celebrated Verlet algorithm for the integration of classical equations of motion can be traced back to Isaac Newton.
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D. Levesque, J. Hansen. The origin of computational Statistical Mechanics in France. European Physical Journal H, EDP Sciences, 2018, 44 (1), pp.37-46. ⟨10.1140/epjh/e2018-90041-y⟩. ⟨hal-02179280⟩

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