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What's Kelvin's Problem?

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Date and time Nov 09, 2006
from 04:10 PM to 05:00 PM
Location McLennan Physics (MP) 102
Host Erich Poppitz

Randall Kamien, University of Pennsylvania

How does the physics of soap froths, the engineering problem of sending signals over a noisy transmission line, and the mathematics of packing hard spheres explain how 

molecular-scale "fuzzy spheres" assemble in space?  I propose a heuristic explanation for the numerous crystal structures observed in various systems.  I will provide a purely geometric interpretation of the free energy of soft spheres. Within this picture, I show that the close-packing rule associated with hard-core interaction and positional entropy of particles is frustrated by a minimum-area principle associated with the soft tail and internal entropy of the soft coronas. I will discuss the connection to other problems in packing and coding theory.

Kamien figure

Multimedia

MP3 recording of talk
PDF presentation file
PPT presentation file (with voice synchronization)

More information about this event…

Affiliation Department of Physics and Astronomy
Contact Name Erich Poppitz
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