Louis Michel (physicist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Louis Michel was a French mathematical physicist at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHÉS).[1] He was born in Roanne, near Loire, on 4 May 1923 and died in Bures-sur-Yvette on 30 December 1999.


Michel completed his studies at the École Polytechnique in Paris. After the World War II, he was in Manchester, where he worked on weak interactions. Back in France, he was teaching in Lille and Orsay before creating the Centre de Physique Théorique of the École Polytechnique. In 1962 he became a permanent professor at IHÉS in Bures-sur-Yvette, where he remained until his retirement, and as an emeritus professor until his death.

Louis Michel was President of the Société Française de Physique between 1978 and 1980, and a member of the French Academy of Sciences since 1979. In 1982 he was awarded the Wigner Medal.

His scientific activities in the domain of theoretical physics encompassed many fields, from elementary particles and High Energy Physics to Crystals, and provided pioneering insights in spontaneous symmetry breaking in many contexts. His name is associated to the Bargmann–Michel–Telegdi equation describing spin evolution in a magnetic field,[2] the theory of phase transitions as a symmetry-breaking,[3] the Michel–Radicati theory for the SU(3) octet,[4][5] and more generally his geometric theory of spontaneous symmetry breaking,[6][7][8] and to several results in crystallography.[8]

After his death, the IHÉS created the Louis Michel Chairs for distinguished long-term visitors to honour his memory.


  1. ^ Cipra, B. A. (8 January 1998). "A Gem of a Definition". Scientific American. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  2. ^ Bargman, V.; Michel, L.; Telegdi, V. (1959). "Precession of the Polarization of Particles Moving in a Homogeneous Electromagnetic Field". Physical Review Letters. 2 (10): 435. Bibcode:1959PhRvL...2..435B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.2.435. 
  3. ^ Michel, L. (1953). "Selection rules imposed by charge conjugation". Il Nuovo Cimento. 10 (3): 319–339. Bibcode:1953NCim...10..319M. doi:10.1007/BF02786202. 
  4. ^ Michel, L.; Radicati, L. (1971). "Properties of the breaking of hadronic internal symmetry". Annals of Physics. 66 (2): 758. Bibcode:1971AnPhy..66..758M. doi:10.1016/0003-4916(71)90079-0. 
  5. ^ Michel, L.; Radicati, L. (1973). "The geometry of the octet" (PDF). Annales de l'Institut Henri Poincaré A. 18: 185. MR 0325036. Zbl 0267.22019. 
  6. ^ Michel, L. (1971). "Points critiques des fonctions invariantes sur une G-variété" (PDF). Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences de Paris. 272: 433. 
  7. ^ Michel, L. (1980). "Symmetry defects and broken symmetry. Configurations Hidden Symmetry". Reviews of Modern Physics. 52 (3): 618. Bibcode:1980RvMP...52..617M. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.52.617. 
  8. ^ a b Michel, L.; Kim, J. S.; Zak, J.; Zhilinskii, B. (2001). "Symmetry, invariants, topology". Physics Reports. 341: 7. Bibcode:2001PhR...341....7M. doi:10.1016/S0370-1573(00)00087-9. 

Further reading[edit]