Subject: Reminiscences: IBM Kingston, part 2
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 09:14:33 EDT
The other IBM professor there at the time was Clement Roothaan, of the Roothaan equations used in computational chemistry. He was a straight talking Dutchman who had emigrated to America, and I recall that he had a few peppery things to say about Debye for some reason. There were many post doctorals there from all over the world, and my immediate manager was George Lie from Taiwan. George and I became quite good friends and he later returned as a full professor to Taiwan. At IBM Kingston I was able to develop my technique of field applied simulation which was pioneered at the EDCL in about 1980. I applied various kinds of external fields and monitored the effect through correlation functions. Nearly all these papers were published in the Physical Review A, J. Chem. Phys. and similar. Keith Refson helped a lot by greatly increasing the efficiency of the correlation function sub routine, which had tended to paralyze the computers because of the huge amount of data I was processing. I was able to increase the number of time steps and number of molecules in the sample. Later I began to use the then new technique of computer animation, and saw that the code was working perfectly. The code was built up in stages from work by the Singer group during the EMLG Project Delta, and up to then had been used on the CDC 7600 computer of UMRCC accessed from Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea. Mauro Ferrario had improved the correlation function routine when he was a post doc at EDCL, and Keith Refson improved the routine further. I was able to pioneer the use of cross correlation functions to reveal many new aspects of molecular dynamics. I think that the code produced over three hundred papers in all (see _www.aias.us_ (http://www.aias.us) Omnia Opera).
During the winter of 1986 to 1987 it was sometimes very cold, and as a European I had no sense of the dangers of the cold, so one day I was frost bitten while training in the parking lot. After some excruciating thawing I thereafter became aware of the weather. At the end of the winter there would be twelve feet of snow piled up around the parking lots. During the first few months I was not able to see much of the countryside because I had no car, so concentrated hard on work, turning out about twenty five papers in the year of my visiting professorship. After meeting my first wife, Laura, I was able to move around by car and saw some of the spectacular countryside of New York State, which is as big as France. I remember High Falls very well, and the impressive Hudson river, the tall trees, and bright light, New York being on the latitude of Spain. I had a Humboldt Fellowship to take up at the end of my professorship but decided to stay in Port Ewen. I was able then to revive my interest in landscape photography, the landscape in New York being completely new to me. The fall (autumn) was particularly fascinating, and as winter came on the snowscapes even more so. I worked out of Port Ewen on pure theory papers, because after October 1987 I had no access to computers. This became the pattern of my work, from 1987 to 2007 I was only intermittently paid, a large amount of work was done purely for the sake of science. In this I was greatly helped by Laura, and we were married in the small house at Port Ewen (just a large caravan) in Feb 1988. She had many IBM awards, was a very fine pianist, and a Ph. D. from Princeton.