Pieter Kasteleyn

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Pieter Willem Kasteleyn
Born(1924-10-12)October 12, 1924
DiedJanuary 16, 1996(1996-01-16) (aged 71)
Alma materLeiden University
Known forFKT algorithm, Random cluster model, FKG inequality
Scientific career
InstitutionsLeiden University
Doctoral advisorL.J. Oosterhoff, S.R. de Groot

Pieter Willem "Piet" Kasteleyn (October 12, 1924 – January 16, 1996) was a Dutch physicist famous for his contributions to the field of Statistical Mechanics.


Pieter Willem Kasteleyn was born in Leiden on October 12, 1924. After finishing high school in 1942, Kasteleyn briefly studied chemistry in Amsterdam. After the war Leiden University reopened and he undertook the study of physics which he graduated in 1951. He defended his Ph.D. thesis working under S.R. de Groot in 1956.[1]

In 1963 Kasteleyn was nominated Full Professor at the Lorentz Institute of Theoretical Physics in Leiden. In 1979 he was elected a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[2] From 1981 to 1985 he acted as secretary of the Physics Section of the Academy. From 1978 to 1984 he was chairman of the Commission for Theoretical Physics of the Dutch National Physics Foundation. He retired in 1985.

He died on January 16, 1996, after an unexpected and short illness.


While investigating dimers on a square lattice (essentially a domino tiling), he independently discovered combinatorial Fisher-Kasteleyn-Temperley algorithm.[3] In a series of papers with C. M. Fortuin[4] he developed random cluster model and obtained the FKG inequality.


  1. ^ Pieter Kasteleyn (1956). "Statistical problems in ferromagnetism, antiferromagnetism and adsorption" (PDF).
  2. ^ "P.W. Kasteleyn (1924 - 1996)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  3. ^ Kasteleyn, P. W. (1961), "The statistics of dimers on a lattice. I. The number of dimer arrangements on a quadratic lattice", Physica, 27 (12): 1209–1225, doi:10.1016/0031-8914(61)90063-5
  4. ^ Fortuin, C.M.; Kasteleyn, P.W. (1972). "On the random-cluster model : I. Introduction and relation to other models". Physica. 57 (4): 536–564. doi:10.1016/0031-8914(72)90045-6.

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