Two physicists will receive the 1995 Aneesur Rahman Prize during Physics Computing '95, the annual meeting of the APS Division of Computational Physics, to be held this month in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Roberto Car and Michele Parrinello are being honored "for their outstanding contributions to computational physics, combining molecular dynamics and density functional theory, now known as the 'Car-Parrinello' method." Established by the IBM Corporation in 1992, the Rahman Prize is intended to recognize and encourage outstanding achievement in computational physics research.
The director of the computational condensed matter and materials physics program at EPFL in Lausanne Switzerland and a professor at the University of Geneva, Car received his Ph.D. from the Milan Institute of Technology in 1971. He spent the following years affiliated with CERN, the University of Milan, the Milan Institute of Technology, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.
Car held a postdoctoral fellowship at IBM's Yorktown Heights facility from 1981 to 1983 and returned for several summers thereafter as a visiting scientist. He also held a professorial appointment at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste during the same period, where his work with Parrinello was done. He joined the EPFL and the University of Geneva in 1991.
Parrinello is a research scientist and group manager at IBM in Zurich. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Bologna in 1968, and spent several years at the University of Messina before joining the faculty of the University of Trieste in 1976. In 1986, he became a professor at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, moving to IBM Zurich three years later. Parrinello's studies abroad include a visit to Argonne National Laboratory in 1980-81, during which he worked with Aneesur Rahman to develop a molecular-dynamics technique for studying stressed crystals.
The Car-Parrinello unification of classical molecular dynamics techniques and quantum-mechanical density functional theory has been used to elucidate the electronic structural properties of a host of condensed matter systems, including solids, liquids, surfaces, clusters, complex molecules, and many others. It has also spawned a considerable amount of activity, beginning with the inventors themselves, in the development and improvement of algorithms for implementing the method.