Bill Sutherland's Models

Profrofessor Bill Sutherland recently retired from the Department after 33 years of service at the University of Utah. While an excellent teacher, Bill has not always been in the thick of departmental life and there are probably quite a few people that don't know much about his accomplishments. It may come as a surprise to them that Bill Sutherland's name is and will be associated with work of lasting significance for statistical mechanics and many-body theory.

Bill was a student of C.N. Yang at Stonybrook ( for those of you too young to remember, C.N. Yang and T.D. Lee got the Nobel prize for predicting parity violation in the weak interactions, and each went on to found their own 'school' of theoretical physics. Interestingly enough, while Bill has retired, C.N. Yang has returned to mainland China and become president of a prestigious university there.) In those prehistoric days the only many body system that had an exact solution was Onsager's Ising model. Bill worked on a large class of 2D systems which exhibited phase transitions (the so-called six vertex model) and developed an exact solution which is still the most general exactly solved model. He then went on to develop the 3D 8-vertex model using a mathematical technique (commuting transfer matrices) which turned out to have important applications in the theory of knots, manifolds and quantum groups.

Bill was a postdoc at Berkeley from 1969-1971 (those were the days to be at Berkeley!). There he became interested in 1D models and developed a model of long-range many-body interactions now called the Calogero-Sutherland model. This model spawned a great deal of work by others. A search of the Los Alamos preprint server for papers since 1992 gives 321 citations with references to Sutherland in the title or abstract. Scores of theorists now choose to explore the Calogero-Sutherland model as a full-time occupation.

Bill's work on this model culminated in four seminal papers. Many ideas flowed from them to areas as diverse as the quantum Hall effect, Jack-Sutherland symmetric polynomials and the asymptotic Bethe ansatz for exact solutions of strongly correlated interacting quantum systems.

Bill has been a professor at the Universtiy of Utah since 1971 and has published 25 PRL papers. His more recent work led to, among many other things, the Shastri-Sutherland lattice which is of importance in understanding 2D magnetic compounds. While officially retired and an Emeritus Professor, Bill continues active research. He is also an afficionado of Celtic and Irish music, with a special affection for the accordion. A much denigrated instrument ("Play the accordion, go to jail, it's the law" is a bumper sticker of note) the button accordion was developed (by Irish musicians in particular) to an instrument of great virtuosic heights. It is not known if Bill actually plays the accordion and it seems unlikely that we will find out.

We wish Bill the best in his retirement. His work in many-body physics has made a lasting imprint. He has, in fact, become a noun.

(Thanks to Misha Raikh for information and specific phrases.)