By the decision of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Condensed Matter Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine of March 10, 2016 the degree of Doctor honoris causa was conferred on Bertrand Berche (Nancy, France) for the studies which provided explanation of changes in the critical behaviour of complex systems under the influence of structural disorder, inhomogeneities, aperiodicity, and space confinement as well as for the engagement in preparation of young scientists and for his personal initiative in different forms of collaboration between France and Ukraine.
Bertrand Berche was born on May 6, 1963 in Metz (France). He got his master degrees in physics and in applied physics in 1987 from Henri Poincaré University of Nancy, continuing studies at this university as a PhD postgraduate student and defended his doctoral dissertation under the supervisorship of Loїc Turban there in 1991. Since then, he has been working at this university (since 2009 the university became a part of the University of Lorraine). He habilitated in 1997 and became a professor in 1998. In 2008–2011 he was president of the Condensed Matter Section of the National Council of Universities (CNU, France) – a national body in charge of the qualification, recruitment and careers of university professors. In 2008-2013 he was Director of the Department of Physics and Mechanics at the University of Lorraine.
The principal field of Bertrand Berche’s research, which he initiated already in his PhD thesis and continues to carry on up till now, concerns phase transitions and criticality (in their different incarnations). His studies shed light on the changes in the critical behaviour of various two- and three- dimensional systems under the effect of structural disorder, inhomogeneities, aperiodicity, space confinement. In this way, the theoretical description of transitions of various type (nematic – isotropic liquid, paraferromagnetic, BKT-like) was suggested and verified by careful numerical simulations. More recently he made important contributions to the theory of spin transport in semiconductors, analyzing compounds with strong spin-orbital coupling and applying gauge symmetry to characterize topological aspects of such systems. Mastering the tools of statistical physics and numerical simulations as well as the framework of universality has also lead him to the application of these tools to the systems consisting of many agents of non-physical nature. Currently professor Berche is a renowned expert in the field of statistical physics of complex systems.
The above studies were performed in collaboration with numerous colleagues from different institutions all over the world. However, particular connections link Bertrand Berche with Ukraine, especially with the ICMP. He published more than 30 papers in collaboration with Ukrainian scientists, he was the co-advisor of the co-tutelle PhD theses made between the ICMP and the University of Lorraine. In particular, he supervised the thesis submitted for the first common Ukrainian-French PhD thesis defense (January, 2009). Now this tradition is continued in the frames of the International Doctoral College “Statistical physics of complex systems” (Nancy-Leipzig-Lviv-Coventry) initiated by Bertrand Berche. Because of Prof. Berche’s initiative and support a number of young Ukrainian researchers had the opportunity to study abroad and to carry out research in the frames of international cooperation projects. He is one of the editors of the “Condensed Matter Physics” journal and a member of an international advisory board of the series of conferences of the Middle European Cooperation in Statistical Physics (MECO) , which is organized in Europe since 1974. Thanks to his support Lviv became the first Ukrainian city, where the MECO conference took place (April, 2011).