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Scientific research of Jean-Pierre Hansen

Jean-Pierre's scientific research has been driven by his intense interest in liquids. His name and the theory of liquids are closely linked in everybody's mind. He has made numerous important contributions to all aspects of the field of liquid matter with applications to many areas of physics and chemistry. The theory of liquids and computer simulation have gone hand in hand from the beginning and Jean-Pierre has played vital role in the productive interaction between these two sides of theoretical physics and chemistry. Examples of his clever combination of analytical approaches and numerical simulation include: His pioneering work on freezing of simple fluids, both by Monte Carlo simulations and classical density functional theory; the work on structure and dynamics of charged fluids and plasmas, with results still widely used in astrophysical applications; His formulation of selfconsistent integral equations, which allowed extension of these methods to strongly coupled fluids and some of the first simulations of dynamical properties of supercooled fluids, which contributed to a better understanding of the glass transition. More recently Jean-Pierre extended his interest to the field of complex liquids and granular matter, and made important contributions to the theory of both charged and neutral colloids. His present research focuses on semi-dilute polymer solutions and block copolymer self-assembly.

Short biography with important dates and places

  • 1942 - Born May 10 in Luxembourg.
  • 1969 - Ph.D in Physics, Université de Paris-Sud, Orsay (supervisor: L. Verlet).
  • 1969 - Staff Scientist, CNRS.
  • 1970 - Postdoctoral Fellow at the Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics, Cornell University.
  • 1973 - Associate Professor, Université Pierre et Marie Curie. Full Professor from 1977.
  • 1976 - Publication of the first edition of Theory of simple liquids with I.R. McDonald
  • 1980 - Visiting Scientist at Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble.
  • 1986 - Director for Research, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon.
  • 1987 - Founder and first Director of Laboratoire de Physique de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon.
  • 1990 - "Grand Prix de l'Etat" prize of the French Academy of Science.
  • 1991 - Visiting Miller Professor at the Department of Chemistry, Berkeley.
  • 1994 - Visiting Fellow, Balliol College & Physical Chemistry Laboratory, Oxford University.
  • 1997 - 1968 Professor of Chemistry, University of Cambridge and Fellow of Corpus Christi College.
  • 1998 - Awarded the "Prix Spécial" of the Société Francaise de Physique.
  • 2002 - Elected Fellow of The Royal Society of London
  • 2003 - Kramers Visiting Professor at the University of Utrecht
  • 2004 - Visiting Professor at the University of Rome "La Sapienza".
  • 2005 - First Recipient of the Liquid Matter Prize of the European Physical Society.
  • 2006 - Awarded the Rumford Medal of the Royal Society of London.

His books on liquids

Another aspect of Jean-Pierre's contribution to science is on the pedagogical side, as a great teacher in Paris, Lyon and Cambridge, and through his well-known books. Three successive editions of Theory of Simple Liquids with Ian McDonald have now appeared (the first one more than 30 years ago, the third just last year). This book, which is still the classical reference in the field, has now been joined by a new book Basic Concepts for Simple and Complex Liquids with Jean-Louis Barrat. These books are in many respects the condensation of a lifelong fascination with and thinking about the mysteries of the liquid state of matter.