Physics Colloquium: Paul Goldbart, Random networks, classical and quanta
Dr. Paul Goldbart
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Random networks, classical and quantal
When we reflect on how materials -- and our ability to make and control them -- have empowered humankind, what tend to come to mind are stone, bronze, iron, and now silicon. Rubbery materials, which were first rendered useful not even two centuries ago, garner less of the limelight, and yet they have had an astonishing impact. Imagine life without tires or elastic bands, medical gloves or tubing, waterproof clothing or wine-making equipment, to give just a few examples. In this talk, I shall discuss why it is useful to regard rubbery materials as Nature's simplest amorphous solids, where the simplicity comes from, and what challenges remain for understanding this striking class of matter. Along the way, we shall see that, provided certain twists are added, theoretical tools originally designed for high-energy physics shed light on certain key characteristics of these archetypes of complexity. If time permits, we shall also see some surprising new connections with quantum circuits and random measurements.