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Towards Unifying Concepts in the Physics of Aperiodic Systems

Program Organizers: Salvatore Torquato, Pablo Debenedetti, Yoav Kallus, Elisabetta Matsumoto & Paul Steinhardt


14-15 October 2011

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Aperiodic particle and spin systems and their formation continue to intrigue scientists. Known aperiodic systems, such as quasicrystals, structural and spin glasses, foams, liquid crystals, network-forming liquids and large-scale cosmological structures, still offer many theoretical challenges. What are the roles of kinetics and thermodynamics in the formation of such aperiodic patterns? How can we accurately characterize such patterns spatially? Are aperiodic patterns endowed with novel physical properties and, if so, why? Can we control their formation and tailor their collective behaviors? Other fascinating aperiodic systems include disordered jammed particle packings, which possess the same quasi-long-range correlations as certain quantum systems. There are a variety of biological systems in which aperiodic patterns offer evolutionary advantages, e.g., bird feathers, collagen networks, bacterial colonies and cancer cells. Formulating a universally applicable description of a "disorder" metric that can characterize and categorize arbitrary aperiodic systems is a major challenge. The aim of this workshop is to bring together a diverse group of scientists to discuss recent developments in our understanding of the formation and structure of aperiodic systems and their physical properties.

After the workshop, we will have a regular seminar series on the physics of aperiodic systems throughout the year. Speakers will be both internal and external to Princeton.