Activities in 2004-2005

From the Report for Academic Year 2004-2005
of the Institute for Advanced Study

PIET HUT continued to lead the interdisciplinary program, now in its third year. His visitors came from a variety of fields, including physics and astrophysics, mathematics, computer science, cognitive science, psychology, political science, history of science, and philosophy.

In December 2004, Prof. Hut was honored to have a main-belt asteroid named after him: asteroid 17031 Piethut has a diameter of several miles and moves around the sun in an orbit with a semimajor axis of 2.4 AU, an eccentricity of 0.12 and an inclination of 8 degrees.

Prof. Hut's main research project in astrophysics is the development of the Kali code, a new software tool for simulations of dense stellar systems, which he is developing in collaboration with Jun Makino, from Tokyo University. This project is based on the philosophy that complete documentation is central for any large-scale software development to succeed. As a side product, Hut and Makino are writing a series of text books titled the Art of Computational Science. They have already published several volumes in this series on their web site http://www.artcompsci.org.

Prof. Hut organized a workshop, MODEST-5d, at the Institute for Advanced Study, with the title `Visualization of Simulations in Dense Stellar Systems.' Although the workshop started off with were several invited talks, informal discussions and exchanges of ideas formed the core of the meeting. As a result, several new interdisciplinary collaborations were launched, including astrophysicists and computer scientists.

July 2004 saw the publication of the book `The New Physics and Cosmology' [ed.: A. Zajonc; Oxford University Press], a collection of dialogues between the Dalai Lama and a group of five physicists, including Prof. Hut, held in Dharamsala in 1997. Chapter 11 contains the presentation by Prof. Hut, entitled `Science in search of a Worldview', and the discussion that was interwoven with it.