WHAT IS THE NETWORK?


The NetworkPlus brings together more than 240 researchers at more than 40 UK universities, research institutes, industrial and commercial organisations to tackle the EPSRC Grand Challenge in Emergence and Physics Far From Equilibrium.

Purpose


The purpose of this NetworkPlus is to coordinate and exploit opportunities for collaborative research in the Grand Challenge area of Emergence and Physics Far From Equilibrium. The Network enables the UK community to plan and kick-start research that cuts across traditional boundaries and links together expertise.

Emergence and Physics Far From Equilibrium


One of the most profound themes pervading modern physics is the notion of “emergence”. It captures the idea that systems of many interacting particles can give rise to a plethora of phases and phenomena that are not readily understood in terms of the particles in isolation. Striking and technologically important examples include superconductors used in MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanners, and giant magnetoresistance materials used in hard drives. Turbulence in the atmosphere impacts on weather patterns, and controlling fusion plasmas may lead to cleaner sources of energy. Characterising such systems requires bridging enormous length scales, from the microscopic domain where the physical laws are known, to the macroscopic scale where the emergent phenomena arise. Out of equilibrium it is also imperative to bridge long time scales. This limits our ability to predict the time-evolution of physical systems and to control their properties. For example, microscopic interactions occur on molecular timescales, but glassy materials can age over many years. The absence of a unifying framework for handling out of equilibrium systems is a major obstacle for advancement.