Martin Freer, University of Birmingham
Simplicity from Complexity: Clustering in Nuclei
Argonne Physics Division Colloquium - 4 Nov 2011
11:00 AM, Building 203 auditorium

The emergence of organized behavior in complex systems coordinated through local, nearest neighbor, interactions is well documented in systems ranging from biological, physical through to sociological [1]. Such self-organization, which arises from a series of well defined, sometimes complex, interactions, can produce remarkable behavior. Perhaps one of the preeminent examples is the behavior of slime-molds. These organisms are amoeboid in character but are capable of extraordinary behavior. Physarum polycephalum, for example, has been used in a variety of laboratory based experiments which explore how such a colony develops an optimal strategy for harvesting distributed food sources. A rather striking example is the recent work in which the local geography of the Tokyo area is replicated and a slime mold is used to find the optimal connectivity between the satellite towns and cities [2]. The comparison between the slime-mold and human solution (rail networks) is then rather interesting. The extension to nuclear matter is a challenge, given the complexity of the strong force. Nevertheless, relatively simple highly correlated states do emerge -- referred to as clustering. This talk will explore the driving symmetries which result in the formation of clusters in nuclei and some of the key experimental developments in the characterization of such states, and how such states lie at the origins of life itself.

[1] Steven Johnson, Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software, 2002, Penguin Books Ltd.

[2] A. Tero, et al., Science 327, (2010) 439

Argonne Physics Division Colloquium Schedule