Piers Coleman opened the discussion with a draft list of big questions and the bigger
question of whether soft matter does a better job of outreach and
communication than hard matter researchers.
Pierre Hohenberg would like to avoid the goulash of
mixing outreach with inreach (speaking to ourselves and the above-lay
Paul Canfield argued that materials synthesis is a key to reducing irreproducibility and
getting to fundamentals. Chandra Varma supported the notion, and pointed out
that the US is well behind Europe and Japan in materials synthesis.
David Pines argued that inreach is an interface problem.
Myriam Sarachik stated that
we haven't even explained condensed matter to our other physicist
colleagues. We look like disparate bunch of projects.
Marvin Cohen thinks
that our interactions with the astrophysicists are helpful and that separating
out outreach questions will help in policy circles. In ten years the inreach
questions will be different, unlike those questions posed by the astro guys
(birth of universeâ€¦). Our enduring questions may not be as
appropriate for outreach but worth discussing.
Is talking to biologists inreach or outreach? Its a continuum.
Henri Alloul asked whether we can fill the pipeline in condensed matter
without inreach in 15 years with good talent. Inreach may default to
nonfundamental problems of materials science, driving the best students away.
Piers Coleman believes that a set of intellectual questions is valuable even if some
fall along the wayside. It is an important cathartic exercise. We must
articulate our dreams; otherwise students will not come into our field. Piers
drifted in from particle physics, and fundamental questions are needed
especially for theorists.
Peter Wolynes proposed that the connection to the mesoscale (nanoscale
technology, Life in the Middle) is important. Crisp questions in middle N are
important. David restated as Is less different? Paul suggested How do
properties vary with large S/V? Peter discussed fluctuations, Piers suggested
spanning micro to meso.
Paul Canfield would like to embrace the diversity of our questions, and an
outreach statement is that we can scratch some things off the list (optical
Tony Angelino a graduate student at Santa Barbara, commented on how influential
"The Middle Way" had been on his interest in research in our field. For him it placed
"nano" and emergence in context, and found it inspirational. Commented that
the Bio-nano connection is important and concrete.
Charlie Schlichter stated that individual researchers in our field have the
chance for virtuosity. Pierre sees other fields as driven by large groups.
Marke Henley sees that the astro paradigm is good but maybe we should aim at
the biology talent pool to draw them. Marvin seconded that notion.
Steve Barry sees the big questions as one that take a lot of thought to
formulate, unlike those of astro. We avoid the dark questions, and have
trouble just considering WHAT we are asking. Marvin says our field is like a
fine wine requiring a taste. Bio and astro are more likely to get to the
public. Self satisfaction will not go to the NYTimes. Barry
doesn't worry about those popular problems.
Myriam Sarachik sees CMP as spanning large intellectual territory from magnetic
applications to neutron stars. We can emphasize the broad range of our field.
Piers Coleman said that this is the age of the top ten. People like this itemization.
Nature asked about this list: Are we going to articulate them? Myriam
suggested that we get to it. Peter saw the list and likes it.
Linda Fefferman assures us that just because we narrow something down to
understandable applications doesn't mean that our field will be
defined by that narrow range. We know there is a more complex story and can
Darrel Hess observed that the new phases of matter will have new technology (LC
display) that will reveal matter to the public. Are there new ways to expose
the matter. Andy sees the fundamental goal as understanding things, why do
they do what they do? The basic questions (why hard? Why conduct?) have been
answered. The generalization is what is now possible? The whole is more than
the sum of its parts. Quantum is weird and interesting, and manifestations in
everyday life are the basic core.
Sam Bader stated that the word emergence is a new
idea, can we apply it to synthesis? Can we describe emergent properties? Can
we predict and engineer them via understanding?
Marvin Cohen suggests that the inside list can be long; the
outside list must be short. Andy asked What is the
next surprise? Add to inreach: A classification.
Betsy Fleischer represents both inreach and outreach. The Inreach would
benefit this community. The crazy frontier inside, along with Rigor R Us, is
Piers Coleman posed his top ten question draft.
fundamentally new classes of matter awaiting discovery?
2.What is the origin of HiTc; is Room T feasible?
3.What is the nature of strange metals.
4.What new principles of the cosmos can be discovered from a study of
(cold) matter inside the lab
5.Is quantum computation feasible?
6.Why don't glasses flow?
7.What principles govern the organization of matter away from
8.Can statistical mechanics be applied to a complex system such as a
9.How do singularities form in collective matter?
10.What are the principles that govern the flow of granular materials
11.What are the physical principles of biological self-organization?
Should we stick to condensed matter? Yes. What is it? Why is it important?
This list is inreach according to some.
Henri Alloul addressed new classes of matter: Each time we discover a new phase or
phenomenon means there is the possibility of a new application. Andy sees
this first question as a premise.
Myriam Sarachik spoke to glasses and granular matter. A large question is there having
to do with complex energy landscapes. JP and Jerry and Mike agreed to take
Jerry Gollub agreed to broaden the question. A possible way is to pose fluids and
solids in new ways.
Chandra Varma thinks the new first question needs reformulation. Should be a
premise. Should be something there about new forms of order. Also a cross
cut about How do we connect QM to classical in everyday physics? We have been
Marvin Cohen said How do we go about finding the new classes? Also, behavior of
materials to lower dimensions, confinement, and size. Need a proposal.
Pierre separates size and dimensionality.
Greg Boebinger also asked about extreme conditions.
Paul Canfield suggests a statement, a definition: CMP is the discovery, understanding,
and control of new materials and properties. That is what we do. Inreach and
Andy Millis proposed several inreach questions: Nonrelativistic Hamiltonian, what are
the groundstates? Need a classification of behavior. Also, Strange
Metals: There are intermediate temperature regimes requiring a classification.
Phil Anderson addressed superconductivity. Reformulate in broad way: The
biggest technological problem is energy, clean and adequate. What new
materials and principles could we develop? Is there a feasible way to operate
a thermoelectric material application for energy? Energy problem will be
solved by us if anyone. Second, which of the principles we discover are
applicable to other fields? Present day science is influence by CM, spin
glasses to biology, there must be other things.
David Pines rephrased, Can cosmic principles be discovered in the Lab?
Darrel' point to tie to application is important.
Today's emergent behavior is tomorrow's emergent
Steve Berry commented on the energy problem. A focused way to say it is How can we
make a device that concentrates energy that avoids heat engines? A pervasive
idea here is How can we formulate problems so that our experimental time scale
is significant? When we talk about rough landscapes, sometimes time scales
are inseparable. Can we state problems so that they are?
Kathy Levin said that the Applequist Report was too much toward deliverables
and not curiosity. Articulating a vision that does not require applications
to justify ourselves is valuable.
Charlie Schlichter stated that major advances are unpredictable. Lists are
therefore dangerous: We need a preamble to this point. Tied in is the idea
that the big advantage of free enterprise is the large number of
idea-generation points. Veto points are also important. CMP has large
independent idea-generation points and we need to pitch this. Individual
making advances by curiosity is important.
Marvin Cohen said that it is more important to get good people than money. Many of
the best are going into biology and engineering. They have a different
mindset and are interested in patents for example. Somewehre in the list we
should address that attraction.
Andy Millis modified the HiTc mechanism issue. There is a new class of behavior by
electrons in solids, and that is the new idea. Andy will think about it off
Myriam Sarachik sees many different things draw students including societal ones. We
should formulate a strategy along these lines. Sam agreed. We have three
flavors of questions: Inreach, outreach, and policy. Once we ask ourselves
inreach questions, we should reformulate them for the other two flavors.
Paul Canfield echoed that. Underneath the simple definition of CMP. Bifurcating to the
salient questions and the societal concerns, including radioactive waste,
disease, and other policy issues.
Mike Cates asked What are we going to do with this list? It should go out but
worry that it might go to official bodies, becoming reports. Do we want to do
this here? Those committees do a good job.
Jerry Gollub pointed out that near the music tent was a good discussion about
the next big directions in music. Same concerns: accessibility for young
people, technology landscape, and taking advantage of other traditions for
Linda Fefferman added to David's idea, What causes unwanted emergent behavior in humans?
Mike Cates noted that a list will offend colleagues. This draft should be about
this meeting, only. Piers agreed that Nature would require review.
A third list for practicalities is not a good idea: Simultaneously interesting
and practical is attractive.
Dave Weitz said that students are excited by the diversity of questions we can
Mike Cates put it well: We have a certain way to study things fundamentally
then address other things. WE SHOULD address biology. Students are excited
by this. Maybe a narrow list defeats our excitement and
purpose. Let's not copy cosmology. Go for societal problems.
Chandra Varma seconded that notion. Our manner of thinking is different from high
energy and economics. Kathy has a corrolary: BPA came up with a list. Astro
are socialistic and are not concerned about offending others. We
shouldn't worry about that.
Mike Cates implores us to look at the questions after they've been
answered. What are the huge achievements (10-12). These are the answers,
what were the questions? We can gather themes this way. Higgs boson
existence is easy question; we are not that kind of science.
Myriam Sarachik mentioned that the discussion is independently going on under
the Board on Physics and Astronomy decadal study. Debating this list.
Grumbling from the community will be blunted this time by asking more people,
"everybody" DCMP and DMP have applied to NSF for 5 workshops: Boston, Florida,
Northern CA, Chicago. These will be one-day and small. The website will
gather more input from the community. WE are diverse but we should get
together for discussion.
David Pines thanked Piers Coleman.