Loup Verlet (1931-) (pronounced: loo vuhr-LEH, rhymes with Chevrolet) is a French physicist who pioneered the computer simulation of molecular dynamics models. In a famous 1967 paper he developed what is now known as Verlet integration (a method for the numerical integration of equations of motion) and the Verlet list (a data structure that keeps track of each molecule's immediate neighbors in order to speed computer calculations of molecule to molecule interactions). He received his Ph.D. in 1957; he was a student of Victor Weisskopf. From 1957 to 1993 he worked mostly on the physics of the liquid state.

He has also written about the history of science. In his book "La Malle de Newton" (1993) he argued that Isaac Newton was an important transition figure between the medieval, mainly religious, world of ideas and the modern scientific way of analyzing physical problems. Newton had a foot in both worlds, as shown by the fact that his writings are not only concerned with mathematics and physics, but also theology and alchemy, a combination that seems bizarre to us today. The publication of Newton's Principia in 1687 and the Glorious Revolution of 1688 (with the king's powers limited by an elected Parliament) were the key events that brought the old era to a close and ushered in the modern one.

His latest book is 'Chimères et Paradoxes' (Ed. Cerf, 2007), an extended essay that touches on the philosophy of science as well as the history of science. Among other things, it considers how three great thinkers (Descartes, Newton and Freud) changed our world view.


* L. Verlet: "Computer Experiments on Classical Fluids", PhysRev. Vol. 159, No. 98, July 1967

* D. Levesque and L. Verlet: Molecular-dynamics and time reversibility. J. Stat. Phys., 72(3-4), 1993.

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