Statistical and Biological Physics

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Focuses of the research program of the Biophysics and Statistical Physics Group at the Arnold Sommerfeld Center are
  • Biological Physics

    While research on soft matter has traditionally been focused on synthetic materials, rapid developments in molecular biology have provided evidence that soft interactions and fluctuation phenomena play a vital role in biology, in particular on the level of the very fundamental processes such as cytoskeletal organization, force generation by molecular motors, cell motility, protein folding, gene replication, and signal transduction. There is a wealth of data about interesting and complex processes in biological systems. more

  • Soft Condensed Matter

    Within the last few years, the physics of soft condensed matter has become a rapidly expanding branch of science. This is mainly due to the recognition that seemingly disparate phenomena in materials such as colloids, polymers and liquid crystals, may be described by unified concepts taking into account the importance of thermal fluctuations in these systems. The softness of interactions in these systems leads to complex phase behavior and dynamical phenomena which not only present challenges to fundamental science, but which are also of enormous technological importance, such as for the processing of ceramics, food, and paint, for the stability and delivery of drugs and for the processing and design of biocompatible materials. more

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    Statistical Physics

    The theory of equilibrium phase transitions and critical phenomena has enjoyed tremendous success in the past decades. Scaling concepts and renormalization group ideas have led to both qualitative and quantitative understanding of the fundamental physics involved, and to quantitative explanations of experiments on a very broad range of materials and substances. In contrast, scaling properties and phase transitions in systems far from equilibrium are as yet comparatively poorly understood. Understanding systems out of equilibrium is still among one of the most challenging problems in theoretical physics. Actually, many if not most natural processes are out of equilibrium. Soft materials are often versatile model systems to study fundamental questions in non-equilibrium physics. more