April 24, 2014

Physics/Fields Colloquium

Organizing Committee
Mary Pugh (Toronto)

Stephen Morris (Toronto)

The goal of the Physics/Fields Colloquium is to feature scientists whose work is of interest to both the physics and the mathematical science community. The series has been running since the Spring of 2007.
Usually there is one speaker per semester. Each speaker gives a primary, general talk in the regular physics colloquium venue and, whenever possible, a second, more specialised talk at the Fields Institute.
Index of 2011-12 seminars
No colloquium talks were planned for the 2012-13 academic year.

2013-14 Schedule

March 27, 2014

4:10pm, MP102

Scott Franklin
Tangled Granular Matter

A jumble of clothes hangers is a nightmare to untangle, as the individual hangers hook onto and become entangled with one another. Entanglement-driven cohesion is a general phenomenon, occurring in many different systems involving irregularly shaped particles. I'll present a variety of studies on "geometrically cohesive" materials, defined by the ability to cohere due to the particle shape. These include long, thin rods, which can be surprisingly rigid, and U-shaped staples that resist being pulled apart. The statistical theories that explain how these piles melt and disentangle are reassuringly simple and capture the fundamental mechanism of entanglement and "weakest link" behavior.

NOTE: Special Refreshments will be served in the Physics Lounge (MP110) at 3:45p.m.

October 17, 2013

4:10pm, MP102

Sharon C. Glotzer, Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan
Packing & Assembling Polyhedra

The packing of shapes has interested humankind for millenia. From the packing of cannonballs on ships to charcoal briquets in bags, finding how to fit the most number of objects into a space has been a longstanding problem that has puzzled such great minds as Aristotle, Kepler, Hilbert and others. Over the past decade, scientists have discovered ways to synthesize nanoscale building blocks of matter larger than individual atoms or molecules, but smaller than a red blood cell, and in a wide variety of materials and shapes, including polyhedral shapes. The assembly of these building blocks into complex structures with novel properties remains one of the foremost challenges in nanotechnology, and involves understanding the role of shape, entropy, and packing. In this talk we present new insights on packing and assembly, and present surprising findings from computer simulations predicting a rich diversity and complexity of structures possible with polyhedra.


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