Houghton Lectures

Houghton Lecture - Leo P. Kadanoff, Perimeter Inst./ U. Chicago
April 27, 2012

Making a Splash; Breaking a Neck:
The Development of Complexity in Physical Systems.

The fundamental laws of physics are very simple; but the world about us is very complex. Living things are very complex indeed. This complexity has led some thinkers to suggest that living things are not the outcome of physical law but instead the creation of a designer. Here I first examine how complexity is produced naturally in fluids, and then use that as a template to suggest how complexity might be produced more generally. Examples described in detail include splashes, the formation of drops, a square dance, turbulence in a fluid heated from below, and the explosion of a star.

Co-sponsored by the Lorenz Center and the MIT Program on Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate