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    Quantum chaos

    Scholarpedia, 2(12):3146. (2007).

    Martin C. Gutzwiller

    Martin C. Gutzwiller (b. in Basel, Switzerland, October 12, 1925, d. 3 March, 2014) obtained a diploma in physics with Wolfgang Pauli in 1950 from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and a PhD with Max Dresden in 1953 from Kansas State University. After that he worked in geophysics for the Shell Oil Company, then moved to IBM Research until his retirement in 1993. He was also an adjunct professor in various universities including Columbia University, ETH in Zurich, University Paris-Sud in Orsay, Polytechnic Institute in Stockholm, and finally Yale University.

    Dr. Gutzwiller is known for the invention of Gutzwiller wave function which is composed of a simple many-electron wave function acted on by a correlation operator (Gutzwiller projection) describing electrons with strong localized interactions (Gutzwiller approximation). He is also known for performing the first investigation of the relationship between classical and quantum mechanics in chaotic systems , as well as novel solutions to mathematical problems in field theory, wave propagation, crystal physics, and quantum and celestial mechanics.

    Throughout his career he published over 60 scientific papers, and wrote classic monograph Chaos in Classical and Quantum Mechanics. He was elected to the US National Academy in 1992 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993; he was given the Dannie Heinemann Prize for Mathematical Physics by the American Physical Society in 1993, and the Max Planck medal by the German Physical Society in 2003. He was recently elected to the Executive Committee of the Forum for the History of Physics of the American Physical Society.

    His collection of rare books on astronomy and mechanics was auctioned on April 3rd, 2014 at Swann Galleries, in New York City after he passed away. In appreciation of his seminal contributions to theoretical physics, the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (MPIPKS) annually awards the Martin-Gutzwiller-Fellowship to acknowledge and promote exceptional research in this field.

    For more information, visit

    (originally featured on 12th May 2008)

    Each week Scholarpedia recognizes a different contributing author by featuring a short bio of them on the home page.

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      Accretion discs

      Marek A. Abramowicz and Odele Straub (2014), Scholarpedia, 9(8):2408.

      Accretion discs are flattened astronomical objects made of rapidly rotating gas which slowly spirals onto a central gravitating body. The gravitational energy of... more Icon more.png

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      Pinning control

      Mario di Bernardo and Pietro DeLellis (2014), Scholarpedia, 9(8):29958.

      Pinning control is a feedback control strategy for synchronization and consensus of complex dynamical networks. Specifically, a virtual leader (the pinner) is... more Icon more.png

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      Strongly Correlated Electrons in Solids

      Henri Alloul (2014), Scholarpedia, 9(7):32067.

      Most emergent properties of the materials discovered since the 1980's are related to the existence of electron-electron interactions which are large with respect to... more Icon more.png

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      Quantum chaotic scattering

      Pierre Gaspard (2014), Scholarpedia, 9(6):9806.

      Quantum chaotic scattering refers to the scattering of quantum-mechanical or other waves in deterministic systems without quenched disorder, yet manifesting... more Icon more.png

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      The MOND paradigm of modified dynamics

      Mordehai Milgrom (2014), Scholarpedia, 9(6):31410.

      MOND is an alternative paradigm of dynamics, seeking to replace Newtonian dynamics and general relativity. It aims to account for the ubiquitous mass discrepancies in... more Icon more.png

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