
19401983 

Professor 
ShangKeng Ma, professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego, died at his home in La Jolla on November 24, 1983, following a prolonged illness. He was recognized as a leading theoretical physicist and educator in statistical mechanics. He is survived by his wife, Claudia, and their two children, ChienSan and TienMu.
Ma was born in Szechaun, China, in 1940 and was raised and educated in China until 1959 when he transferred from the National Taiwan University to the University of California, Berkeley where he received his B.S. (1962) and Ph.D. (1966) degrees. His thesis “Correlations of Photons from a Thermal Source” was under the supervision of Kenneth Watson.
Ma came to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) for postdoctoral work with Keith Brueckner in 1966 and in less than a year his extreme promise was recognized with a faculty appointment. During this early stage of his career he exhibited great versatility in his work on problems in quantum mechanical manybody theory which included charged Bose systems and nonuniform Fermi gases. In 1968 he was invited to the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University where he collaborated with S. J. Chang on the infinite energy limit of Feynman diagrams relevant to high energy processes in quantum electrodynamics, and produced a series of papers on the Smatrix formulation of statistical mechanics with R. Dashen. In 1971 he became a tenured member of the UCSD physics department and was also awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship.
Ma is perhaps most recognized for his contributions to the theory of critical phenomena. As a visiting professor at Cornell University in 1972, he became involved with the early developments of the renormalization group theory of critical phenomena. Ma was instrumental in the formulation of the l/nexpansion, together with its implementation in the calculation of the critical exponents for a variety of systems. The generalization of the renormalization group theory to dynamical critical phenomena was pioneered by Ma, in collaboration with B. I. Halperin and P. C. Hohenberg.
Ma is also well known for his lucid review articles of the renormalization group theory. His interpretation and refinement of the conceptual and the calculational ideas unraveled much of the initial confusion in this complex subject and contributed significantly to our current understanding.
While on sabbatical leave at the University of California, Berkeley between 1973 and 1974, Ma investigated the problem of dynamical symmetry breaking and further extended his work on dynamical critical phenomena. In 1974 Ma was invited to write a monograph on the exciting and rapidly developing field of critical phenomena. The result was his book Modern Theory of Critical Phenomena (1976) which has become a fundamental text in condensed matter physics. It has been responsible for providing the foundation for many scientists currently involved in this large field of research. It will continue to represent a standard resource in this field.
In 1976, as a visiting member at CEN Saclay, Ma developed the Monte Carlo renormalization group technique. His idea of a hybrid theory, constructed from the union of two disjoint techniques, has evolved into a powerful technology that is widely used today for the numerical study of critical phenomena.
Ma made significant contributions to the theory of random systems. In 1975 with Y. Imry, he published the seminal paper on the effect of a random magnetic field on ferromagnetic order. Their model has come to be known as the random field Ising model. This pioneering work, with its important prediction for the value of the lower critical dimension, continues to represent a relevant area of intense and controversial research. Additional advances in understanding random systems emerged from his study of the dynamics of spinglasses.
In 1981, Ma pioneered the “coincidence counting” method for the calculation of entropy from the phase space trajectory. He felt strongly that such a dynamical formulation of entropy was crucial for understanding random and other systems exhibiting metastability. He hoped that this idea would stimulate further development, refinement, and application.
Ma had a deep interest in furthering the scientific development and education in his native land. He believed very strongly that the teaching of fundamental science in any country should be in the native language of that country. He taught at Tsing Hua University, Taiwan in 1977 and in 1981, and while there decided to write an advanced text on statistical mechanics in Chinese. This book, published shortly before his death, is the culmination of his lifelong interest in statistical mechanics. Its uniqueness derives from his viewpoint based on dynamical origins rather than from the traditional approach based on the Gibbs ensemble. An English translation is in progress.
In addition to being a dedicated teacher and physics scholar, Ma had a broad range of cultural and social interests. He was a frequent contributor to Chinese newspapers with commentary on contemporary political issues. He was a gifted painter and in recent years had extended his interest in music by learning to play the classical Chinese “ch'in” (zither) instrument.
Despite his declining health, Ma insisted on continuing to teach a graduate course in statistical mechanics until a few days before his death. The required energy and determination came naturally from his quiet dignity, enthusiasm, and passionate concern to communicate his unique insights to his students.
(文章转自：http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_602179850100d3ka.html)
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