The Lars Onsager Lecture and Professorship
- Lars Onsager (1903–1976)
Norwegian-American chemist and physicist. Born in Oslo, Ch.E. degree from Norges Tekniske Høiskole, Trondheim, in 1925. Emigrated to the USA in 1928 and became an American citizen in 1945. J. Willard Gibbs Professor at Yale University. Received the 1968 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work done in 1931 on irreversible thermodynamics. (Biographical note).
- Present Onsager Lecturer
The Lars Onsager Lecture for 2013 was presented by Professor Stanislav Smirnov, Université de Genève, Switzerland.
The lecture was held Thursday 3 October 2013 at 13:15 in auditorium R8 in the Science building.
Title: The Ising model of a ferromagnet from 1920 till 2020
Abstract: The Ising model is an archetypical model of order-disorder phase transition: though simple to formulate, it exhibits a complex behavior, much like the real-world phenomena in solid-state physics, ferromagnetism, chemistry, biology, computer science.
In 1920 the physicist Wilhelm Lenz proposed to model ferromagnetic materials by a lattice of plus-minus spins with interacting neighbors. His student Ernst Ising solved the model in dimension one four years later. The one-dimensional behavior turned out to be trivial, with no phase transition when the interaction strength changes, and for a decade people searched for other possible models. However, a ferromagnetic phase transition was established by Rudolg Peierls in higher dimensions, and in 1944 Lars Onsager famously calculated the free energy for the Ising model in two dimensions.
Since then the Ising model became widely studied, as it exhibits complicated phase transition behavior, yet allows a very detailed analysis in dimension two. We will give a historical introduction to the model, and then describe some recent results.
– For further information, please contact Prof. Helge Holden.
Thanks to the generosity of Lars Onsager's sons and daughter, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has established a Lars Onsager archive located at NTNU Library/Gunnerus Library in Trondheim. A substantial part of the archive has now been made freely available in digital form.
A general reference to the scientific works of Lars Onsager is:
The Collected Works of Lars Onsager (With Commentary)
(P.C. Hemmer, H. Holden, S.K. Ratkje, editors)
World Scientific, Singapore 1996
A biography on Lars Onsager by P.C. Hemmer and E. Hiis Hauge is printed in the book "Norwegian Nobel Prize Laureates", (Olav Njølstad, ed.), Universitetsforlaget, 2006. Boken fins også på norsk "Norske nobelprisvinnere", (Olav Njølstad, red.) Universitetsforlaget, 2005.