Dutch Institute for Emergent Phenomena

>> May 25th 2018: community building day

       Time: 09:30 – 18:00 | Location: Ottone – Utrecht, Kromme Nieuwegracht 62 – Remonstrantse Kerk

The world is organised into different levels of description emerging from one another. From quantum theory emerges space, time, gravity and the fundamental blocks of matter.  From these fundamental blocks emerge all the structures in the universe: the large ones such as planets and galaxies and the small ones in the lab such as graphene. Eventually, the small constituents of the universe create composites which can self-assemble and create diverse types of materials. The Dutch Institute for Emergent Phenomena (DIEP) is an interdisciplinary research centre across fundamental sciences with the purpose of furthering the understanding of emergent phenomena.
Integrated in the community building day of Route 2, on May 25th, DIEP invites all those who try to connect different levels of reality: those who coarse-grain or fine-grain their theories, those who build microscopic theories in order to understand emergent phenomena at a larger scale, those who model physical systems at different scales, those who try to understand how novel behaviour such as self-assembly takes place, those who try to understand how classical physics emerges from the quantum world and those who think about the philosophical aspects of emergence. 
In a short and surprising session, DIEP will introduce its scientific agenda for fostering collaborations among different sciences that deal with emergent phenomena and to reach an understanding of inter-theoretical relationships. DIEP has invited several key representatives of its focus areas to present their interdisciplinary research on aspects of emergent phenomena:
Vijay Balasubramanian, U. Penn. 
 
Vijay works on string theory and holography investigating how gravity, space and time emerge from quantum theory. But his investigations on fundamental questions such as these have led him to study information processing in biophysics and the brain. Besides being an active high energy physicist, he is the head of a group on biophysics.
Find out how one goes from strings to the brain.
Daan Frenkel, Cambridge U. 
 
Daan works on the interface between chemistry, soft condensed matter and nano materials, developing new methods for numerically simulating large classes of physical systems at different length scales which exhibit different types of emergent behaviour: nucleation in colloids, phase transitions in DNA molecules and self-assembly in proteins. Through his work you will find out how so many different sciences are interconnected at different scales.
Alix McCollam, Radboud U. 
 
Alix works on condensed matter and new emergent phases of matter. Her talk will give a broad overview of such phases that arise from strong electron-electron interactions such as unconventional superconductivity, exotic types of magnetic and electric order as well as quantum criticality. Alix will argue that condensed matter can be an excellent tool for the study of emergence, where, by means of experiments, emergent states can be characterised in detail, some of which are still lacking a proper microscopic understanding.
Frank Redig, TU Delft 
 
Frank works on probability theory and the emergence of macro-dynamics from statistical systems, which can be viewed as an instance of the laws of large numbers. Examples of emergent dynamics include hydrodynamics but also universal equations such as the heat equation emerging from the chaotic motion of molecules. Frank is also interested in how accurate these equations are and the universality of the fluctuations around it. 
Joop Schaye, Leiden U. 
 
Joop works on the structural formation of large cosmological structures such as galaxies by means of hardcore numerical simulations that mimmic the beginning period of the evolution of the universe. He is interested in the emergence of the cosmic web and the relations between black holes and galaxies. Joop will be discussing different aspects of emergent phenomena that appear in cosmology, including self-organisation processes at cosmological scales. 
Programme (free registration here):
09:30-10:00  Doors open – coffee, tea
10:00-10:05  Welcoming words from boegbeeld Ionica Smeets
10:05-11:00  Presentations of the route for community and stake-holders
11:00-12:00  Feedback from the Startimpuls programmes
12:00-12:30  Lunch
12:30-12:45  Jay Armas: On the DIEP structure and concept
12:45-13:30  Vijay Balasubramanian: From brains to black holes: information and emergent phenomena (abstract)
13:30-13:45  Alix McCollam: What can condensed matter do for emergence?
13:45-14:00  Frank Redig: Emergent macro-dynamics (abstract)
14:00-14:15  Joop Schaye: Simulating the universe (abstract)
14:15-15:30  Discussion on the Gamechangers
15:30-16:15  Daan Frenkel: Merging and emerging behaviour in us and around us (abstract)
16:15-16:45  ​Feedback on the Gamechangers
16:45-17:00  ​Closing remarks by route-trekker Stan Bentvelsen
17:00-18:00  ​Drinks
DIEP session
Abstract: From brains to black holes: information and emergent phenomena by Vijay Balasubramanian
The natural world is replete with complex systems which manifest emergent phenomena, i.e., effects that appear in the collective, but that are not present in the individual components alone.  I will discuss how we can understand emergence in terms of the reorganization of information stored in a system at various scales and over time.  Examples will range from computation in the brain to the physics of black holes.
Abstract: Emergent macro-dynamics by Frank Redig
How can we understand that on the macro-scale relatively simple and universal equations such as the heat equation emerge from the chaotic motion of molecules?
Can we  quantify how accurate these equations are, and what is the probability that we observe a significant deviation from what these equations predict? Are the fluctuations around these equations universal?
In recent decades, in the area of interacting particle systems -a sub-area of probability theory- significant progress has been made in these subjects.
The ideas are essentially probabilistic: the emergence of macro-equations can be viewed as (an infinite dimensional) instance of the law of large numbers. The universality of fluctuations is an instance of the central limit theorem (Gaussian), or in asymmetric (driven non-equilibrium) systems of a new universality class (KPZ-universality). Probabilities to follow deviating trajectories can be understood in the realm of the theory of large deviations, as developed in this context by Varadhan (Abel prize 2007).
 These techniques can be applied to derive different types of macro-dynamics, including the Euler and the Navier-Stokes equations, the Boltzman equation, and the KPZ equation for asymmetric interface motion.
Abstract: Simulating the Universe by Joop Schaye
How do large-scale cosmological structures emerge? How do galaxies form? How do galaxies regulate their growth? How do relations between black holes and galaxies emerge? What is the composition of the universe?
The universe around us is full of structure. Stars reside in galaxies of various shapes and sizes, which themselves are distributed in web-like structures. The properties of galaxies correlate with each other and the galaxies' large-scale environment. Even the tiny supermassive black holes residing in galaxy centers seem to know about, and may even control, structure on supergalactic scales. I will discuss how supercomputer simulations are providing physical insight into the emergence of cosmic structure from simple initial conditions and the laws of physics.
Abstract: Merging and emerging behaviour in us and around us by Daan Frenkel 

When is more `different’, and when is it just `more’? Interestingly, the distinction is as much with the observer as with nature around us.

We can only observe emergence once we  have developed a language to describe it. In that sense, `emergence’ could also be viewed as the emergence of theory.

Physics is full of emergent phenomena, but not all physical phenomena are emergent. The ones that are not, we usually call `trivial’ or `messy’. 

However, things that are considered messy today may one day be shown to follow highly non-trivial emergent laws, and the same actually holds for phenomena that are `trivial'. In my talk I will give a few examples of phenomena  that we now recognise as emergent, and some that we do not (yet).  The key point is that unexpected, emergent phenomena may happen at all length and time scales. 

 
 
 
 

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