Understanding Physics!


Within the framework of the November lectures "Understanding Physics!" the RWTH Department of Physics is holding a presentation open to the public. Professor Stefan Wessel from the Institute of Theoretical Solid-State Physics will talk about the topic "60 years of the Monte Carlo Metropolis: A Stroke of Luck for Physicists" Monte Carlo is known as a district in Monaco for its Monte Carlo Rally, the Monte Caro Masters tennis competition, and its casino, where coincidence determines luck. However the name Monte Carlo possesses another world of coincidence for physicists: one of the most efficient methods for calculating complex systems has the same name.


During the lecture the audience will first learn how purely coicidental events can accurately determine exact mathematical sizes such as pi. In order for the Monte Carlo method to be used for dealing with complex systems in physics, they must be applied with skill. Nicolas Metropolis figure out how to do so 60 years ago with husband and wife, Rosenbluth and Teller. They were inspired by MANIAC, the fastest computer in the world of its time and built in New Mexico, USA. Today there are trillions of faster super computers available all over the world, including at Forschungszentrum Jülich, right around the corner from Aachen. Similar to the rally, the Monte Carlo method is about speed. However, fast computers alone do not suffice for treating problems in modern physics with the Monte Carlo methods. Thus, the lecture will also show how essential good ideas are again and again for ensuring progress in physics beyond technological developments.

The event is on Saturday, November 30, 2013, at 11am in Hörsaal Fo2 , Kármán Auditorium, Eilfschornsteinstraße 15.

Admission is free of charge and registration is not required.