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Abstract Title: Randomness and structure : Explicating nature’s choices with computational tools
Abstract: Understanding cooperative behavior in interacting multi-particle systems is at the heart of research in materials of interest to physics, chemistry and biology. We developed a program that supports introductory-level students in understanding how the balance of interactions and entropy results in equilibrium structures that are neither completely ordered nor completely disordered in a wide variety of soft matter systems (e.g., colloids, polymers, surfactants). Analysis of students' use of thermodynamics principles to understand phase separation, highlights students' difficulties in constructing a concrete representation of the relevant thermo-statistical concepts.
To address these problems we are developing a suite of computational modeling tools with a strong visual component.  In the context of the commonly used lattice gas model, students can explore the consequences of random motion, observe the dynamics of the approach to equilibrium, monitor bulk properties of the system, and observe how spontaneous formation of structures is tuned by various inter-particle interactions.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Nava Schulmann
Weizmann institute of science
and Co-Presenter(s)
Elon Langbeheim, Ruth Chabay, Sam Safran, Edit Yerushalmi