MSI researcher Eric Corwin is part of a 13 member international team working on a new initiative seeking to understand the “glassy state of matter”. Corwin was recently awarded a $745k, 4-year award for his research into the study of jammed systems as it relates to glass.
“The endeavor to understand the glassy state of matter forces us to consider deeply the seemingly simple question: what is a solid. Glass – the prototypic and ubiquitous amorphous solid – inhabits an incredibly ramified and complex energy landscape in which systems are often stranded far from equilibrium. Dealing with so many relevant energy minima has emerged as one of the central problems of statistical physics and requires the invention of a new set of tools and concepts. This collaboration, addressing such fundamental issues of disorder, non-linear response and far-from-equilibrium behavior, builds upon three powerful approaches: studies of jamming at zero temperature, the mean-field theory of glasses in infinite dimension, and the dynamics in a marginally stable landscape. The convergence of recent breakthroughs in these areas generates a unique opportunity to tackle two outstanding and intimately related challenges:
• Developing a unified theory of structure and excitations in glassy matter
• Developing a theory for the relaxation dynamics upon approaching the glass transition.”