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NONEXTENSIVE STATISTICAL MECHANICS
: BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE ACTIVITIES OF PROFESSOR CONSTANTINO TSALLIS
Constantino Tsallis was born in Athens-Greece in 1943, grew up in Argentina, studied at the prestigious Instituto Balseiro - Bariloche, Argentina, where he received his 6-year degree in physics at the age of twenty two. He then moved to France in 1966, where he presented his Doctorat d’ Etat es Sciences Physiques at the University of Paris-Orsay in 1974. In Paris, during 7 years, he regularly taught at the University of Paris and at the Ecole de Physique et Chimie de Paris, where he was elected by the students as the second best teacher of the year, the first one being the director of the Ecole. The professors who mostly influenced him during this period were Guido Beck, in Bariloche, and Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, in Paris. During his Thesis, he focused on phase transitions and critical phenomena, an extremely active area at the time, very specially in his research institution, Saclay-CEA. In 1975, he resigned his position --- about 40 candidates presented for the vacancy! --- at the University of Paris and moved to Brazil, where he lives with his family since then, and acquired the Brazilian citizenship in the 80’s. He speaks fluently Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, Greek and Italian.
Along all these years, Tsallis, Full Professor at the Brazilian Center for Physics Research - CBPF, directly supervised 34 Master and Doctor Thesis (most of them Doctor) from various regions of Brazil, as well as from other countries, such as Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Peru, Portugal, Italy. He also accompanied, indirectly, Doctor Thesis in Belgium, Turkey, Italy, USA, Spain, Japan, Greece, and others. Alone or with collaborators all over the world, he has published close to 300 papers, which have received over 9000 ISI citations (his 1988 seminal paper proposing nonextensive statistical mechanics has received up to this date close to 1900 ISI citations). This recognition has led to an h index 44, the highest for physics in Brazil, possibly in all of Latin America. Also, Prof. Tsallis has received over 1100 ISI nominal citations (“Tsallis” in the Title or Abstract of the paper). Such a high number is extremely rare in science. Prof. Tsallis has delivered over 800 invited lectures in more than 40 countries.
His most original contribution, the proposal of a generalization (for systems which, if classical, exhibit vanishing maximal Lyapunov exponent) of the entropy and concepts emerging within Boltzmann-Gibbs statistical mechanics. He has dedicated to this very hard problem the last 20 years of his research efforts. His works have greatly contributed to a better understanding of the restrictions within which the standard BG theory is valid. The understanding of many-body Hamiltonian large systems with long-range interactions, as well as of nonlinear dynamical systems at the edge of chaos, has greatly benefited from the concepts introduced in this generalization, usually referred to as “nonextensive statistical mechanics”. Expressions like “Tsallis entropy”, “Tsallis statistics” and “Tsallis cutoff” are widely used in the literature. The interest that this theory has raised is so impressive that the related bibliography (http://tsallis.cat.cbpf.br/biblio.htm ) contains over 2600 articles by more than 2000 scientists from 64 countries. This exceptional interest can be even checked in Google, where his name typically reflects in well over 100.000 items. Various experimental, observational and computational verifications of its predictions are available, for cold atoms in optical dissipative lattices [Douglas, Bergamini, Renzoni, Tunable Tsallis distributions in dissipative optical lattices, Phys. Rev. Lett. 96 (2006) 110601], dusty lasers [Liu, Goree, Superdiffusion and non-Gaussian statistics in a driven-dissipative 2D dusty plasma, Phys. Rev. Lett. 100 (2008) 055003], the solar wind [by NASA; Burlaga, Vinas, Triangle for the entropic index q of non-extensive statistical mechanics observed by Voyager 1 in the distant heliosphere, Physica A 356 (2005) 375], defect turbulence, motion of Hydra viridissima, financial transactions, unimodal maps at the edge of chaos, among many others. The applications span from medicine (epilepsy, Alzheimer, brain injuries, ECG) to scale-invariant networks for commercial trade, from image and signal processing to global optimization algorithms, from geophysics to astrophysics, to cosmology and gravitation, linguistics, chemistry, cognitive psychology, engineering. Indeed, it is rather amazing the far reaching applications of the basic concepts that Prof. Tsallis has introduced. His collaboration in several papers, and in the editing of a book with Murray Gell-Mann, have resulted in the establishment of the notion that entropic extensivity requires, for some classes of systems, the use of the nonadditive entropy. It has also resulted in specific generalizations, for strongly correlated systems, of the central limit theorem and that of Levy-Gnedenko. Prof. Tsallis has been invited to address the word “Entropy” in a 30-pages article which is going to appear in the Springer Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science (10 volumes). Springer has also scheduled for 2009 the publication of Tsallis’ book “Introduction to Nonextensive Statistical Mechanics - Approaching a Complex World”. This book was written in part at the Santa Fe Institute, New
New Mexico, where he recently spent two years as Visiting Professor, and of which he is today an External Professor. All these accomplishments make of Prof. Tsallis one of the most cited scientists of Brazil in all sciences, and by very far the most cited in the area of complex systems, area in which he is also one the most cited in the world.
His contributions in the formation or consolidation of groups in Brazil (e.g., in Rio de Janeiro, Natal, Maceio, Salvador, Maringa), in Argentina (Cordoba, La Plata, La Pampa), Chile (Antofagasta), Turkey (Izmir), Greece (Athens, Patras), Italy, England, Japan, have transformed Prof. Tsallis in one of the most influential and respected scientists of Latin America. He has taught courses or mini-courses on nonextensive statistics in Michigan, Texas, Santa Fe, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Turkey, Lima, and elsewhere. Many international events (two times in Japan, four times in Italy, two times in USA, three times in Brazil, two times in Greece, among others), and many books (Elsevier, Springer, American Institute of Physics, Brazilian Journal of Physics, Oxford University Press, World Scientific, Progress in Theoretical Physics, special issue of Europhysics News of the European Physical Society) have focused on this theory along the last 10 years.
His contributions have been frequently recognized at national and international levels. He has received the Guggenheim Foundation Award (New York), the City of Rio de Janeiro Prize for Science and Technology, Distinguished Scientist of the Greek Diaspora, he has been declared Honorary Citizen of the Rio de Janeiro State, invited signature at the Leiden University Wall, Mexico Prize of Science and Technology (given in hands by the President of Mexico), Comendador of the National Order of Scientific Merit (in the presence of the President of Brazil), Comendador of the Rio Branco Order-Brazil, Full member of the National Academy of Brazil, and of the National Academy of Economical, Political and Social Sciences of Brazil, Elsevier Prize, Capes/Scopus Prize, Award for the region Latin America and Caribbean by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Chief Co-editor of Physica A / Elsevier. He has been several times member of the Selection Committee of the Boltzmann Award - IUPAP, and he is Co-Director (with M. Gell-Mann, A. Zichichi, L. Pietronero, G. Benedek) of the School of Complexity at the Erice Center Ettore Majorana. He has received three times the title of Doctor Honoris Causa (National University of Cordoba-Argentina, one of the oldest of all Americas, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte-Brazil, State University of Maringa-Brazil); one more Doctor Honoris Causa title is presently scheduled for May 2009 by the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki-Greece. Last but not least, Prof. Tsallis is the Coordinator of the National Institute of Science and Technology for Complex Systems (financially supported by Brazilian Federal and State Agencies, and involving 34 highly selected scientists and technologists from all over the country), that was launched in November 2008 by the President of Brazil.
UN BSSW IHY 2009
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