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DEPARTMENT COLLOQUIUM | Jamming: A Tale of Two Rigidities

Wednesday, April 6, 2016
4:00 AM
340 West Hall

When we first learn the physics of solids, we are taught the theory of perfect crystals. Only later do we learn that in the real world, all solids are imperfect. The perfect crystal is invaluable because we can describe real solids by perturbing around this extreme limit by adding defects. But such an approach fails to describe a glass, another ubiquitous form of rigid matter. I will argue that the jammed solid is an extreme limit that is the anticrystal-an opposite pole to perfect order. Like the perfect crystal, it is an abstraction that can be understood in depth and used as a starting point for understanding the mechanical properties of solids with surprisingly high amounts of order. Unlike the crystal, it is also remarkably adaptable so that mechanical properties such as the Poisson ratio can be tuned over the whole of the allowed range and local “allosteric” mechanical responses can be designed.