Van der Waals-Zeeman Colloquium

Tuesday, 29 September 2009, 16:00

Still in the sandbox: exploring the granular phase space

Dr. Matthias Schroeter
MPI, Göttingen

A beaker full of sand contains on the order of 100 million individual particles, all interacting according to Newton's laws. This large number raises the hope that there might be a statistical mechanics type description which rationalizes a small number of controll parameters. Unsurprisingly there are considerable difficulties in generalizing our textbook knowledge to these far from equilibrium systems with macroscopic, dissipative constituents. But of course the bare chance "to reinvent statistical mechanics in a new context" (Leo Kadanoff) is too tempting to not try it.