Centre for Advanced Study

at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

Complex Matter Science

Abstract

The project is devoted to basic research in the emerging field of complex matter science. Complexity in this context means to accept that Nature rarely is governed by simple linear relations, but instead shows features that originate from inherent non-linearities; a world that evolves and adapts dynamically, and often driven far away from simple equilibrium. Complexity represents a cross-disciplinary approach to Nature and technology, and fundamental questions in this field touch upon and point at new directions for research of high strategic importance in Norway, such as energy, environment and new advanced materials. The ambition is to become the leading group for complex matter studies in the Nordic countries, and the local team is based on the existing national research network, COMPLEX, with participants at the University of Oslo, the Institute for Energy Technology, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Complex systems such as granular matter (incl. vortex matter in superconductors), complex fluids, polymers, nanostructured materials, as well as complex processes like flow in porous media, many-body dynamics, complex rheology and fracture will be studied using novel methods and bring different phenomena and experiments, modeling and theory in close contact with each other. Thus, the project promotes synergy in several directions and at several levels. Of special importance is the added value created by bringing high-level scientists and their students from several institutions, nationally and internationally, together to work on selected topics in complex matter science. The group will stimulate innovation and knowledge transfer, especially directed toward students, and thereby promoting Norway’s reputation as an attractive environment for scientific excellence and education.

End Report

“Why is the world that surrounds us so complex while the underlying laws of physics are simple?” This fundamental question has vast ramifications. Think of clouds in the sky, spraying waves of the oceans, or an ice rose formed on your window a winter morning: Although the water molecules are simple in shape and interact by simple forces, they can grow into amazingly complex patterns. This illustrates processes that are simple step by step, but when repeated, can result in complexity where “the whole is different from the sum of its many parts”.

Complex matter science deals with condensed matter systems showing complex patterns of behaviour in a broad sense of the word. It aims to uncover the physical reasons for complexity, and capture the drama and richness caused by tiny variations and perturbations. During the past year at CAS, these have been the overall goals of our group, where the concrete work had strong links to experimental activities taking place in parallel at the physics departments of the University of Oslo, NTNU and IFE. Examples of systems we have studied are granular matter, vortices and instabilities in superconducting materials, complex fluids, polymers, flow in porous media and quantum systems in complex environment.

Thus, the project has promoted synergy in several directions and at several levels. Of special importance has been the added value created by bringing high-level scientists and their students from several institutions, nationally and internationally, together to work on selected topics in complex matter science, and thereby promoting Norway’s reputation as an attractive environment for scientific excellence and education.

We consider our year at CAS as extremely productive and memorable in all respects. Being allowed to concentrate fully on research in such a friendly, inspiring atmosphere, and with the highly professional assistance from the CAS staff, the year became unique. In addition to our output in the form of scientific papers published and submitted, the value of being in a position to host large international workshops should also be emphasized. It is evident that all our activities will be beneficial far into the future.

During the year at CAS, several applications were written and submitted to various international agencies aiming to continue the close collaborations initiated by the CAS project. Three of them have been granted all ready; one EU-project (STREP) and two Science without Borders (Brazil) projects. Therefore many initiatives created at CAS will for sure grow further.

Fellows

  • Altshuler, Ernesto
    Professor University of Havanna 2011/2012
  • Bouchaud, Elisabeth Esther
    Dr. French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA-Saclay) 2011/2012
  • Dommersnes, Paul Gunnar
    Dr. Paris Diderot University 2011/2012
  • Fossum, Jon Otto
    Professor Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) 2011/2012
  • Giaever, Ivar
    Dr. Applied Biophysics Inc. 2011/2012
  • Helgesen, Geir
    Professor Institute for Energy Technology 2011/2012
  • Knudsen, Kenneth Dahl
    Senior Researcher Institute for Energy Technology 2011/2012
  • Lengliné, Olivier
    Dr. University of Strasbourg 2011/2012
  • Måløy, Knut Jørgen
    Professor University of Oslo (UiO) 2011/2012
  • Ortiz, Wilson Aires
    Professor Federal University of São Carlos 2011/2012
  • Pynn, Roger
    Professor Indiana University 2011/2012
  • Santucci, Stephane
    Dr. ENS de Lyon 2011/2012
  • Skagerstam, Bo-Sture
    Professor Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) 2011/2012
  • Skjeltorp, Arne Torbjørn
    Senior Advisor Institute for Energy Technology 2011/2012
  • Vinokur, Valerii M.
    Dr. Argonne National Laboratory 2011/2012

Previous events

Group leader

  • Tom Henning Johansen

    Title Professor Institution University of Oslo (UiO) Year at CAS 2011/2012
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