Ludovic Berthier, Ph.D.Director of Research, French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)
Laboratoire Charles Coulomb
Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
Most of the materials around us are structurally disordered, from window glass to emulsions to biological tissues. Scientists have long considered disordered materials as imperfect or defective versions of perfectly ordered crystals. Yet the concept of an ‘ideal’ glass has fascinated scientists for decades. Can such a thing be defined rigorously? Is it possible, or even useful, to prepare quasi-ideal disordered materials?
In this lecture, Ludovic Berthier will describe the world of amorphous materials and why scientists are interested in predicting and tuning their physical properties. The quest for a fundamental understanding of disordered materials has repeatedly led to the idea of an ‘ideal’ glassy state or an ‘optimal’ random structure. Modern theories of disordered systems offer refined descriptions of these elusive concepts but have also raised difficult questions about their applicability for real systems. In the last few years, novel experimental and computational techniques have been developed that bring actual materials much closer to the ideal glass state. This work reveals unexpected physical properties and sheds new light on the very concept of an ideal glass state of matter.