Updated 2022-03-17 (video posted)
At this year’s APS March Meeting I will be presenting a talk:
N27.00008 : Arianna Wright Rosenbluth: the woman behind the Metropolis Monte Carlo algorithm*
Wednesday March 16, 12:54 PM–1:06 PM central time in McCormick Place W-187C
This talk will be presented live in person and I will make a recording available online as soon as possible. This talk will expand upon the work originally reported in my dissertation. The dissertation is behind a paywall, but feel free to contact me and I can provide you a PDF.
I’ll also be speaking on a panel:
Session M43: Panel Discussion: Postdoc Perspectives: The Broad Range of Options
Wednesday, March 16, 8:00-11:00am central time in W-375B
Other writing about Arianna Wright Rosenbluth
A. Iaizzi, Magnetic Field Effects in Low-Dimensional Quantum Magnets, p. 5, Springer Theses (Springer, Cham, Switzerland, 2018). doi:10.1007/978-3-030-01803-0
Arianna Wright Rosenbluth unfortunately passed away in December 2020. Her passing was marked by a eulogy in the New York Times: Arianna Rosenbluth Dies at 93; Pioneering Figure in Data Science. She also got some fascinating coverage in the March 2022 edition of APS News.
In recent years, there has been a huge interest in rediscovering the lost contributions of women and other minorities to science. Here we shine light on yet another such hidden figure: Dr. Arianna Wright Rosenbluth, co-inventor of the Metropolis Monte Carlo method, which is, by any measure, one of the most important algorithms ever developed. Monte Carlo describes a wide range of numerical techniques that use random numbers. The Metropolis algorithm generalized this initially specialized method to solve any equilibrium statistical physics problem (and indeed, many problems outside of physics). Since its introduction in 1953, it has become the most common form of Monte Carlo and spread beyond physics to chemistry, biology, social science, finance, and even pure math; its use is now so widespread that it is commonly mistaken for being a synonym for Monte Carlo itself. Arianna Rosenbluth, herself a child prodigy and fully-qualified physicist, wrote the first complete computer implementation of the Metropolis algorithm. In this talk, I will describe the historical and scientific context for this revolutionary algorithm and its connections to the development of the hydrogen bomb.
Note: The views expressed here are the speaker’s, and do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the AAAS STPF Program, the US Dept. of Energy, or the US Government.
If you’re still here and you are an early career scientist (postdoc, junior faculty, recent graduate in industry), or if you just care about the well being of early career scientists, you may want to consider joining the APS Forum for Early Career Scientists (FECS). It’s free for APS members.
This work is not a part of my AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship. The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent ORISE, AAAS or the Department of Energy. Nothing written here should be interpreted as a statement on behalf any of these organizations.