Emergence and Physics Far From Equilibrium has been identified by EPSRC as a Physics Grand Challenge:

“One of the key scientific advances of the latter part of the twentieth century was the appreciation that dramatic collective behaviour can emerge unexpectedly in large complicated systems, in ways that could not have been predicted from even a detailed knowledge of their components. Many of these ‘emergent’ states arise very far from equilibrium – life itself being a prominent example – and their existence implies that nature employs subtle organising principles whose understanding will provide a central challenge for the coming decades. Meeting this challenge will require work cutting across the traditional disciplinary boundaries in science and will involve combining experiments under extreme conditions with the development of entirely novel classes of theory. This fundamental work will be driven by the ever-present possibility that emergent states may provide the foundations for the technologies of the future.”

Understanding emergence and physics far from equilibrium has the capacity to transform not just physics but a wide range of fields. In addition to quantum technologies, the design of smart materials and the making of fusion plasmas, it impacts on climate modelling, biology, financial markets and social phenomena. Addressing this Grand Challenge requires a sustained collaborative effort across different fields of research.