David P. Ruelle
Ruelle, David (1935).jpeg
David Ruelle (1973)
Born (1935-08-20) 20 August 1935 (age 86)
Alma materUniversité Libre de Bruxelles
Known for
Scientific career
FieldsMathematical physics
InstitutionsETH Zurich
Institute for Advanced Study
Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques
Rutgers University
Doctoral studentsGiovanni Gallavotti

David Pierre Ruelle (French: [ʁɥɛl]; born 20 August 1935) is a Belgian mathematical physicist, naturalized French. He has worked on statistical physics and dynamical systems. With Floris Takens, Ruelle coined the term strange attractor, and developed a new theory of turbulence.[1][2]


Ruelle studied physics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, obtaining a PhD degree in 1959 under the supervision of Res Jost.[3] He spent two years (1960–1962) at the ETH Zurich, and another two years (1962–1964) at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1964, he became Professor at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques in Bures-sur-Yvette, France. Since 2000, he has been an emeritus professor at IHES and distinguished visiting professor at Rutgers University.[4]

David Ruelle made fundamental contributions in various aspects of mathematical physics. In quantum field theory, the most important contribution is the rigorous formulation of scattering processes based on Wightman's axiomatic theory.[5] This approach is known as the Haag–Ruelle scattering theory. Later Ruelle helped to create a rigorous theory of statistical mechanics of equilibrium, that includes the study of the thermodynamic limit, the equivalence of ensembles, and the convergence of Mayer's series.[6] A further result is the Asano-Ruelle lemma,[7] which allows the study of the zeros of certain polynomial functions that are recurrent in statistical mechanics.[8]

The study of infinite systems led to the local definition of Gibbs states or to the global definition of equilibrium states. Ruelle demonstrated with Roland L. Dobrushin and Oscar E. Lanford that translationally invariant Gibbs states are precisely the equilibrium states.[9]

Together with Floris Takens, he proposed the description of hydrodynamic turbulence based on strange attractors with chaotic properties of hyperbolic dynamics.[10][11]

Honors and awards

Since 1985 David Ruelle has been a member of the French Academy of Sciences[12] and in 1988 he was Josiah Willard Gibbs Lecturer in Atlanta, Georgia.[13] Since 1992 he has been an international honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences[14] and since 1993 ordinary member of the Academia Europaea.[15] Since 2002 he has been an international member of the United States National Academy of Sciences[16] and since 2003 a foreign member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.[17] Since 2012 he has been a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[18]

In 1985 David Ruelle was awarded the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics[19] and in 1986 he received the Boltzmann Medal for his outstanding contributions to statistical mechanics.[20] In 1993 he won the Holweck Prize[21] and in 2004 he received the Matteucci Medal.[22] In 2006 he was awarded the Henri Poincaré Prize[23] and in 2014 he was honored with the prestigious Max Planck Medal for his achievements in theoretical physics.[24]

Selected publications

See also


  1. ^ Ruelle, David; Takens, Floris (1971). "On the nature of turbulence". Communications in Mathematical Physics. 20 (3): 167–192. Bibcode:1971CMaPh..20..167R. doi:10.1007/bf01646553. S2CID 17074317.
  2. ^ Ruelle, David. "'What is a... Strange Attractor?" (PDF). American Mathematical Society. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  3. ^ David Ruelle at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ "Biography from his website". ihes.fr. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  5. ^ Ruelle, David (1962). "On the asymptotic condition in quantum field theory". Helvetica Physica Acta. 35: 147–163. doi:10.5169/seals-113272.
  6. ^ Ruelle, David (1999). Statistical mechanics: Rigorous results. World Scientific. ISBN 978-9810238629.
  7. ^ Ruelle, David (1971). "Extension of the Lee-Yang circle theorem". Physical Review Letters. 26 (6): 303. Bibcode:1971PhRvL..26..303R. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.26.303.
  8. ^ Lebowitz, Joel L.; Pittel, Boris; Ruelle, David; Speer, Eugene R. (2016). "Central limit theorems, Lee--Yang zeros, and graph-counting polynomials". Journal of Combinatorial Theory, Series A. 141: 147–183. doi:10.1016/j.jcta.2016.02.009. S2CID 11664411.
  9. ^ Ruelle, David (1978). "Thermodynamic formalism. Addison Wesley, Reading". Mass zbMATH.
  10. ^ Ruelle, David (1993). Chance and chaos. Vol. 110. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691021003.
  11. ^ Gallavotti, Giovanni. "Laudatio on the occasion of the Henri Poincaré Prize". International Association of Mathematical Physics. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  12. ^ "French Academy of Sciences member page of David Ruelle". French Academy of Sciences (in French). Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Josiah Willard Gibbs Lectures". American Mathematical Society. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Ruelle's member page of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Ruelle's member page of Academia Europaea". Academia Europaea. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  16. ^ "Ruelle's member page of the National Academy od Sciences". National Academy od Sciences. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Lincei's member page of David Ruelle". Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  18. ^ "List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society". American Mathematical Society. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  19. ^ "1985 Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics Recipient". American Physical Society. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  20. ^ "C3: Awards - The Boltzmann Medal". International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. 8 March 2021. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Fernand Holweck Medal and Prize recipients". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  22. ^ "Medaglia Matteucci". Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze detta dei XL. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  23. ^ "Henri Poincaré Prize winners". International Association of Mathematical Physics. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  24. ^ "Max Planck Medal Prize winners". German Physical Society (in German). Retrieved 12 March 2021.