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Liquid crystals and what they have taught us

Lubensky, T (University of Pennsylvania )
Thursday 10 January 2013, 10:00-11:00

Seminar Room 1, Newton Institute


Broken symmetries and conservation laws lie at the very heart of our understanding of the physical world. They control the physical properties and phenomena ranging from the masses of elementary particles to the flow to the oceans. Liquid crystals provide an almost ideal laboratory for studying phenomena - low-energy elasticity and hydrodynamics, topological defects, and critical fluctuations - associated with broken symmetries. This talk will review some of the important things we have learned from liquid crystals including how to describe broken rotational symmetries, what crystals really are and how to describe their elasticity and dynamics, and how fluctuations and spatial dimension affect the existence of order.


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