Statistical & Computational Physics

Our group is interested in a variety of phenomena in nonlinear, statistical and biological physics, such as the emergence of complex collective behaviors, e.g. pattern formation under far from equilibrium conditions, the physics of the glass transition, fracture propagation in glasses under thermal stress, dynamical synchronization in complex networks, self-organized criticality, optimization, nonequilibrium growth phenomena, fractals, kinetic roughening of surfaces and interfaces. We also extend the ideas gathered from complex physical systems to biological applications. We develop analytical models, as well as new computational methods. For example, we use multi-scale simulations based on the quantum field theory methods and the renormalization group methods to model the emergence of collective behaviors in complex disordered condensed matter and biological systems.

Computational methods are also used to understand how biological systems, from molecular circuits and single neurons, to brains and populations learn from their surrounding environment and respond to it. Among other problems relevant to both physics and biology, we also theoretically investigate the development of choroidal neovascularizatioin in age-related macular degeneration, dynamics of molecular motors, embryonic skeletal development, intracellular active transport and jamming, biological computing, and genetic network oscillations in morphogenesis.

Stefan Boettcher
Associate Professor, Theory

Self-organized criticality, optimization, statistical mechanics, quantum-field theory.
George Hentschel
Professor, Theory

Neural networks, spin glasses, nonlinear dynamics, chaos, biomorphogenesis, and turbulence.
Fereydoon Family
Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor, Theory

Nonequilibrium growth phenomena, pattern formation, fractals, surface and interface physics.