Chemical Selforganization: Macroscopic Order from Microscopic Processes

Chemical Selforganization: Macroscopic Order from Microscopic Processes

Nonlinear Science & Mathematical Physics


November 1, 2017 -
3:00pm to 4:00pm


Howey - School of Physics




Florida State University


Simple rules can create complex patterns and dynamics. This connection is routinely used by living systems to create complex rhythms, spatio-temporal structures, and high-performance materials with surprising design features at meso- and macroscopic length scales that seem to defy their molecular origins.

In my lecture, I will present several examples that illustrate this point and demonstrate that many phenomena that appear to be unique to life processes actually occur in non-biological, often simple chemical systems.

Specifically, I will discuss nonlinear wave patterns in reaction-diffusion media and examples of life-like structures in chemical reactions that form polycrystalline or amorphous solids. The unexpectedness of some of these universalities has profound consequences in a wide range of scientific disciplines ranging from the misidentification of early microfossils to deadly cardiac arrhythmias.