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Extending the Range of the Glassy State: novel properties and applications exploiting non-crystallinity

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In crystals the atoms form repeating patterns. In glasses they are jumbled, and that has perhaps made them unattractive for study — yet “the deepest and most interesting unsolved problem in solid state theory is probably the theory of the nature of glass and the glass transition” [PW Anderson, Science 267 (1995) 1615]. Our focus is not on conventional glass (as used in windows and drinking vessels), but on more exotic glassy systems. A few of these will be presented, touching on such questions as: how to do better at golf, how not to freeze to death, and how to improve your (computer’s) memory. The scientific focus is on the comparison of, and transitions between, crystalline and glassy states: the aim is to show that these are not only of fundamental scientific interest; they have important practical applications in structures, medicine and information technology.

This talk is part of the Larmor Society series.

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