Posts Tagged ‘pattern formation’

Primary skill in the physicist’s aresenal

March 26, 2008

Clifford at Asymptotia:

In physics, most of what we do is look for the simple, often in extremely complicated systems. If you’re asking the wrong question, or looking at the wrong aspect of the system, this quest for the simple is unlikely to work at all, but the right question asked about the right aspect can yield rather striking insights, often with far-reaching consequences. Although it often is not emphasized in this manner during our school or undergraduate (and sometimes even graduate) education, this is the primary skill in the physicist’s arsenal that we teach and learn. (See an earlier article here for a take on this.)

The piece itself is about the patterns in desert sand, small and big, with beautiful photographs to accompany the meditative, flowing, and informational piece! A must-read!


A bit of thermodynamics

October 3, 2007

Steel Authority of India Limited used to run a campaign with the slogan “There is a bit of SAIL in everybody’s life” (and the one I remember vividly is that of a housewife with a steel key tied to her saree end). Same can be said of thermodynamics — there is a bit of thermodynamics in every materials researcher’s life. And, lest I forget, there is thermodynamics and thermodynamics (as the spirited discussions in this iMechanica post shows). Here are a couple of links (which, by the way, also indicate the range and richness of the field).

  • In This week in cond-mat series, Doug at Nanoscale views writes about a couple of papers: Violation of Wiedemann -Franz law in single electron transistors, and another on quantum heat engines (and, yes, they do obey Carnot’s theorem).
  • More closer to the thermodynamics in my research life is the on going journal club discussion at iMechanica on Irreversible thermodynamics of continuous media. Anurag, the moderator of the discussions, refers to a couple of books, which I have not read. However, I did read Silhavy’s The mechanics and thermodynamics of continuous media on the recommendation of my continuum mechanics instructor (and, found it very nice too).

    Anurag, then proceeds to recommend a couple of papers for spatial pattern formation on systems that are far from equilibrium — that of Prigogine, and Cross and Hohenberg. I have not read the papers of Prigogine. But, I have lots to say about the review article of Cross and Hohenberg; I probably will do a couple of posts in the near future.

    Anurag ends the post with links to a couple of papers on plastic evolution — that of Bridgman and Hartley. Again, this is an area that is just at the periphery of my research interests. So, I might do a post on these, but not in the immediate future. In the meanwhile, have fun at iMechanica, where there is also plenty of discussions.

Happy reading!