front cover
  • ISSN 0010-0765 printed
  • ISSN 1212-6950 electronic


CCCC will be published under the name ChemPlusChem by Wiley.

Professor Ivo Nezbeda 65th Birthday - Foreword

This festschrift issue is dedicated to Ivo Nezbeda on the occasion of his 65th birthday.

The editors of this issue have had rewarding personal and scientific interactions with Ivo for over 30 years; the following briefly describes Ivo’s career and gives recollections of our interactions with him over the years.

Ivo was born on November 20, 1944 in the small town of Choceň, 140 km east of Prague in the eastern part of Bohemia. His father was a schoolteacher (of mathematics and arts) and was also deeply involved in Czechoslovak soccer, ranging from being a first-division referee in the years 1946-1948 to coaching the Czechoslovak national soccer team in the period 1954-1958. Perhaps for this reason, Ivo has always had an avid interest in sports; he played soccer for the top Czechoslovak soccer junior team, Sparta Prague, in addition to tennis and ice hockey; he continues to be an active tennis player and downhill skier today. At his longtime workplace, the Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals (ICPF) of the Academy of Sciences, he and several colleagues have regularly played soccer every Wednesday afternoon. Ivo’s father was also an excellent chess player, as was Ivo himself, who competed as a junior at the national level. Nonetheless, we recall Ivo telling the story that his father regularly won chess matches against him well into his 80’s. Both Ivo’s parents lived to a ripe old age, and hopefully their longevity genes have been passed on to him.

Ivo studied at Charles University in theoretical physics, graduating with his Diploma (the equivalent of an MSc in North America) in 1968. He received his RNDr. at Charles in 1972 and his PhD in physical chemistry in 1974 at the Academy of Sciences in Prague at the ICPF under the supervision of Tomáš Boublík, a long-time collaborator and colleague. He received his DSc in 1989 in chemical physics, also from the Academy of Sciences. After the velvet revolution, he began teaching at his Alma Mater, in the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, and was awarded a prestigious Professorship in Theoretical Physics from Charles University in 2001.

Ivo’s first job was at the ICPF in 1974, which was headed at the time by Eduard Hála, a famous Czech thermodynamicist. He worked in the group of Professor Boublík, and he still holds a part-time appointment at the Institute. He rose through the ranks, becoming a Distinguished Research Scientist in 1989. He started collaborating with the department of physics of J. E. Purkinje University in 1997, and joined the university as a Professor of Physics in 2004. Since that time, he has been more and more involved in university and scientific administrative activities. In addition to chairing the Chemistry Department and the Internal Grant Agency of the Faculty, he also concurrently chaired the Department of Informatics at Purkinje for two years; and for the period 2006-2009 he was the first Chair of the Academic Senate for the newly established Faculty of Science. He currently chairs the evaluation panel in Chemical Physics and Physical Chemistry of the Czech National Science Foundation (Grant Agency of the Czech Republic).

Bill first met Ivo in the summer of 1977 at the Gordon Conference on Liquids, during the time when Ivo was beginning a postdoctoral half-year with Tom Leland at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Bill was then spending a sabbatical leave with Doug Henderson and John Barker, famous pioneers of modern molecular theories of liquids, at the IBM Research Lab in San Jose, California, and Ivo took the opportunity that fall to visit all three colleagues in San Jose. During that visit he spent a weekend with Bill and one of his IBM colleagues and their families at a rented cottage in Lake Tahoe. While all the adults took the opportunity to investigate the casinos in nearby Reno, Nevada, Ivo and Bill remained to babysit the 5 children. They consumed several bottles of beer and had a great scientific discussion, laying the groundwork for Bill’s first visit to Ivo in Prague in 1978. Since that time, Ivo and Bill have been close friends and collaborators, being co-authors of more than 35 journal papers up to the present time.

Horst met Ivo for the first time in 1979 at a small GDR (the former East Germany) – Czechoslovak workshop held in Selin, a Baltic Sea resort in the GDR. Ivo and Horst came in touch because they were the only people at the meeting interested in the statistical mechanics of liquids. In the ensuing years they found many common scientific and personal interests and a close long-term collaboration and friendship developed. In the fall of 1984, Horst visited Ivo at the ICPF for 6 months. This has been followed by numerous mutual research visits of both collaborators in Prague/Usti and in Leipzig, continuing until the present time. They have been co-authors of 8 joint journal papers. Substantial contributions to their research projects were provided by Matthias Kettler, a former PhD student of Horst at the University of Leipzig.

Standa started mutual collaboration with Ivo in the late 1970’s when they met at the thermodynamic seminar at the ICPF. Standa had just finished his PhD at the Prague Institute of Chemical Technology and was starting his teaching career at the Department of Physical Chemistry there. This first contact has led to more than 30 years of fruitful cooperation up to the present time, involving the joint authorship of 13 papers.

Ivo has always been interested in both theoretical research and molecular-level simulation techniques in the statistical mechanics of fluids; he prefers to avoid the beaten paths and rather to develop new approaches and ideas. With a strong physics background and being surrounded in his workplace by chemists and chemical engineers, he has come to understand the importance of basic research for applications, and the primary application domain of his research has thus been fluids of chemical engineering interest. Ivo made his initial professional mark in the late 1970s and 1980s by pioneering work, both theoretical and computational, on fluids made up of hard-body objects of different shapes. These activities have been referred to as “the Prague school”, and some of the papers have become citation classics [1,2]. The analytic equations of state that he and Boublík developed for hard-body fluids (e.g., the Boublík-Nezbeda equation of state) serve as reference fluid equations of state for various perturbed equations of state of real fluids.

In the 1980s, he developed, along with Bill, the RAM (Reference Average Mayer-function) perturbation theory [3,4], perhaps the best available and most versatile perturbation theory for molecular non-associating fluids [5-7]. In the mid-1980’s, Ivo and Bill developed a simple model of associating fluids [8]) referred to as the “Smith-Nezbeda” model in one of M. Wertheim’s papers. Ivo and J. Kolafa later extended the model to a more elaborate version [9] which, in combination with Wertheim’s thermodynamic perturbation theory, forms a basis for the very successful Statistical Associating Fluid Theory (SAFT) subsequently developed by K. Gubbins and his collaborators and now routinely used by chemical engineers for various applications and as a component of chemical process simulation software packages. He continued to develop and apply theoretical results to chemical engineering problems, and in 1994 he developed, along with J. Kolafa, a non-empirical, molecular-based equation of state for Lennard-Jones fluids, the most accurate equation for this class of fluids available to date [10]. He did significant research on a general mathematical formulation of the global phase behavior of binary fluid mixtures in the late 1990’s (e.g., [11-13]).

Ivo began to concentrate more and more on computer simulation methodology, beginning in the late 1980’s and continuing this emphasis to the present day. In fact, his Monte Carlo simulations in 1973 were apparently the very first molecular simulations carried out in the entire Soviet block of countries, and one of the first in the world on systems with orientation-dependent interactions. His contributions range from the fluctuation particle method for determining the chemical potential [14] and its implementation for Gibbs Ensemble simulations [15,16], to the very recent development of a new multi-particle-move Monte Carlo method [17,18]. He collaborated with Bill and others on the development and implementation of the reaction ensemble simulation method [19-22]).

Ivo’s main activity since the 1990’s has been in the modeling of polar and associating fluids, with special focus on water [23-25]. He has developed a new theoretical approach for perturbation theories encompassing all fluids, regardless of the details of the underlying intermolecular interactions [26-32]. This approach, based on fundamental-level approximations that are aimed at capturing the essence of the interactions at short separation distances, promises to provide a simplified and useful approach for calculating the thermodynamic properties of complex fluids and their mixtures. This work has been recently summarized in an invited article written for Molecular Physics [33]. In addition to his work in the behavior of bulk fluids and mixtures, Ivo has also extended his interests to fluids in confinement [34,35] and, quite recently, to the phenomenon of percolation [36] in fluids for which he has already achieved important results on non-universality [37].

Ivo has supervised multiple graduate students and postdoctoral fellows through the years, many of whom have gone on to successful research careers. He has also collaborated with many colleagues, both in the Czech Republic and around the world, including his previous students and postdoctoral fellows. He has spent significant periods of time as a Visiting Professor at universities overseas: 2 years in the US (Rice University, Houston; University of Tennessee, Knoxville; University of Oklahoma in Norman), and altogether about 5 years with Bill in Canada, first at the University of Guelph, and since 2004 at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa.

Ivo has published more than 180 papers in international journals, which have achieved over 3000 citations, and he has an H-index of 30, one of the highest in the entire Czech physics community. His contributions to the development of molecular theories of fluids have also been acknowledged by several prestigious awards and nominations. He twice received the national award of the Board of Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences, and in 1980 he was awarded the Prize of the Academy of Sciences, jointly with Tomáš Boublík. In 2004, he was the sole nominee of the Czech Republic for the prestigious Wolf Foundation Prize in chemistry, “in recognition of his pioneering work in the theoretical modeling of complex fluids, and for his outstanding contributions to understanding the behaviour of liquids based on molecular principles”.

Ivo originated and continues to coordinate the extremely successful Liblice Conference on the Statistical Mechanics of Liquids. The series was initiated in 1983 on a modest scale, and meetings have been held every 4 years since 1986. They have grown into large international gatherings with around 140 participants from all over the world. The name of the meeting series is derived from the site where the first meeting was held, at the stately manor house called “Liblice”, the official congress center of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences at the time. The first three conferences were officially organized under the auspices of the Chemical Physics Section of the Czechoslovak Chemical Society, and subsequent meetings have been organized jointly by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and Cornell University, represented by Ivo Nezbeda and Keith Gubbins, respectively.

Also, as a leading figure in the Czech liquid matter community and a tireless organizer, Ivo regularly organizes annual Czech workshops on liquid matter, often involving a small number of invited foreign speakers. These meetings provide an ideal opportunity for students, junior researchers and more senior scientists to meet together, exchange ideas and keep abreast of the latest developments in the field (and to enjoy the Czech tradition of performing unofficial experiments on liquid matter involving ethanol!)

Ivo has 2 lovely daughters, Lenka and Šárka, who will celebrate their 40th and 30th birthdays around the same time as Ivo’s 65th. He also has 3 grandsons, 2 of whom are shown in the photo below (the 3rd was born recently this year). He tries to spend as much time with them as possible, in particular at his 200-year old farm house, located in a small village about 90 km south of Prague. With its internet connection, this is also a wonderful venue for doing his research in a quiet setting.

Nezbeda with his grandsons

Ivo has no intention of retiring, and we expect that he will continue to be actively engaged both in scientific research and its politics in the statistical mechanics of fluids for years to come. We look forward to his continuing contributions.


[1] Boublík T., Nezbeda I.: P-V-T behaviour of hard body fluids. Theory and experiment. Collect. Czech. Chem. Commun. 51, 2301-2432 (1986).
[2] Boublík T., Nezbeda I.: Equation of state for hard dumb-bells. Chem. Phys. Lett. 46, 315-316 (1977).
[3] Smith W. R., Nezbeda I., Melnyk T. W., Fitts D. D.: Reference system selection and the average Mayer-function perturbation theory for molecular fluids. Faraday Discussion Chem. Soc. 66, 130-137 (1978).
[4] Smith W. R., Nezbeda I.: The reference average Mayer-function (RAM) perturbation theory for molecular fluids. In Molecular-Based Study of Fluids (Eds. Haile, J. and Mansoori, G. A.). Adv. Chem. Ser. 204, 235-279 (Am. Chem. Soc., Washington, D. C. 1983).
[5] Nezbeda I., Smith W. R.: Equation of state of site-interaction fluids from the site-site correlation function. J. Chem. Phys. 75, 4060-4063 (1981).
[6] Nezbeda I., Smith W. R.: The site-site correlation functions of molecular fluids. I. Computation via zeroth-order perturbation theory. Mol. Phys. 45, 681-694 (1982).
[7] Nezbeda I., Smith W. R., Labík S.: Perturbation theory for the Lennard-Jones diatomic fluid. II. Thermodynamic and quasithermodynamic properties. J. Chem. Phys. 81, 935-943 (1984).
[8] Smith W. R., Nezbeda I.: A simple model for associated fluids. J. Chem. Phys. 81, 3694-3699 (1984).
[9] Kolafa J., Nezbeda I.: Monte Carlo simulations on primitive models of water and methanol. Mol. Phys. 61, 161-175 (1987).
[10] Kolafa J., Nezbeda I.: The Lennard-Jones fluid: an accurate analytic and theoretically-based equation of state. Fluid Phase Equilib. 100, 1-34 (1994).
[11] Nezbeda I., Kolafa J., Smith W. R.: On global phase diagrams of binary mixtures. I. Systematic basis for describing types of phase equilibrium phenomena. J. Chem. Soc. Faraday Trans. 93, 3073-3080 (1997).
[12] Kolafa J., Nezbeda I., Pavlíček J., Smith W. R.: Global phase diagrams of model and real binary fluid mixtures. Part II. Non-Lorentz-Berthelot mixture of attractive hard spheres. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 1, 4233-4240 (1999).
[13] Nezbeda I., Kolafa J., Smith W. R.: Molecular theory of phase equilibria in model and real associated mixtures: III. Binary solutions of inert gases and n-alkanes in ammonia and methanol. Fluid Phase Equilib. 130, 133-156 (1997).
[14] Nezbeda I., Kolafa J.: A new version of the insertion particle method for determining the chemical potential by Monte Carlo simulation. Mol. Simul. 5, 391-403 (1991).
[15] Strnad M., Nezbeda I.: An extended Gibbs ensemble. Mol. Simul. 22, 193-198 (1999).
[16] Strnad M., Nezbeda I.: Parallelized sampling of the Gibbs ensemble. Mol. Phys. 98, 1887 (2000).
[17] Moučka F., Rouha M., Nezbeda I.: Efficient multi-particle sampling in Monte Carlo simulations on fluids: Application to polarizable models. J. Chem. Phys. 126, 224106-13 (2007).
[18] Moučka F., Nezbeda I.: Multi-particle sampling in Monte Carlo simulations on fluids: Efficiency and extended implementations. Mol. Simul. 35, 660-672 (2009).
[19] Lísal M., Nezbeda I., Smith W. R.: The reaction ensemble method for the computer simulation of chemical and phase equilibria. II. The Br2+Cl2+BrCl system. J. Chem. Phys. 110, 8597-8604 (1999).
[20] Lísal M., Smith W. R., Nezbeda I.: The accurate computer simulation of phase equilibrium for complex fluid mixtures. Application to binaries involving isobutene, methanol, methyl tert-butyl ether, and n-butane. J. Phys. Chem. B 103, 10496-10505 (1999).
[21] Nezbeda I., Slovak J.: A family of primitive models of water: three- four-, and five-site models. Mol. Phys. 90, 353-372 (1997).
[22] Lísal M., Smith W. R., Nezbeda I.: Molecular simulation of multicomponent reaction and phase equilibria in MTBE ternary system. AIChE J. 46, 866-875 (2000).
[23] Nezbeda I.: Simple short-ranged models of water and their application. A review. J. Mol. Liquids 73,74, 317-336 (1997).
[24] Vlček L., Nezbeda I.: From realistic to primitive models: a primitive model of methanol. Mol. Phys. 101, 2987-2996 (2003).
[25] Vlček L., Nezbeda I.: From realistic to simple models of associating fluids. II. Primitive models of ammonia, ethanol, and models of water revisited. Mol. Phys. 102, 385-497 (2004).
[26] Nezbeda I., Kolafa J.: Effect of short- and long-range forces on the structure of water: temperature and density dependence. Mol. Phys. 97, 1105-1116 (1999).
[27] Kolafa J., Nezbeda I.: Effect of short- and long-range forces on the structure of water. II. Orientational ordering and the dielectric constant. Mol. Phys. 98, 1505-1520 (2000).
[28] Nezbeda I., Lísal M.: Effect of short and long range forces on the thermodynamic properties of water. A simple short range reference system. Mol. Phys. 99, 291-300 (2001).
[29] Kolafa J., Nezbeda I., Lísal M.: Effect of short- and long-range forces on the properties of fluids. III. Dipolar and quadrupolar fluids. Mol. Phys. 99, 1751-1764 (2001).
[30] Kettler M., Nezbeda I., Chialvo A. A., Cummings P. T.: Effect of the range of interactions on the properties of fluids. Phase equilibria in pure carbon dioxide, acetone, methanol, and water. J. Phys. Chem. B 106, 7537-7546 (2002).
[31] Chialvo A. A., Kettler M., Nezbeda I.: Effect of the range of interactions on the properties of fluids. Part II. Structure and phase behavior of acetonitrile, hydrogen fluoride, and formic acid. J. Phys. Chem. B 109, 9736-9750 (2005).
[32] Nezbeda I.: Role of the range of intermolecular interactions in fluids. Curr. Opin. Colloid Interface Sci. 9, 107-111 (2004).
[33] Nezbeda I.: Towards a unified view of fluids. Mol. Phys. 103, 59-76 (2005).
[34] Predota M., Nezbeda I.: Hydrophobic hydration at the level of primitive models. Mol. Phys. 96, 1237-1248 (1999).
[35] Predota M., Nezbeda I., Cummings P. T.: Hydrophobic hydration at the level of primitive models. II. Large solutes and water restructuring. Mol. Phys. 100, 2189-2200 (2002).
[36] Škvor J., Nezbeda I., Brovchenko I., Oleinikova A.: Percolation transition in fluids: Scaling behavior of the spanning probability functions. Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 127801-4 (2007).
[37] Škvor J., Nezbeda I.: Percolation threshold parameters of fluids. Phys. Rev. E 79, 041141-7 (2009).

Stanislav Labík
Institute of Physical Chemistry
Prague Institute of Chemical Technology
Technická 5
166 28 Prague, Czech Republic

William R. Smith
Associate Provost, Research, and Dean of Science
University of Ontario Institute of Technology
2000 Simcoe Street North
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, L1H 7K4

Horst L. Voertler
Privatdozent, Speaker of the MDC Research Group
Institute of Theoretical Physics
University of Leipzig
Vor dem Hospitaltore 1
04103 Leipzig, Germany