Textbook thermodynamics treats equilibrium states of large systems, in which macroscopic variables (temperature, pressure and so on) remain static, and how small perturbations of such systems relax with time. There have been a number of exciting recent developments in studying (a) how such equilibrium states are reached in a closed quantum or classical system, and (b) generalizations of thermodynamics to small systems and to systems that are intrinsically out of equilibrium. This work spans both classical and quantum mechanics, and ties together biological systems, soft matter (such as glasses and granular systems), quantum matter, nuclear physics, quantum information, quantum gravity, and string theory.This is clearly an area of inquiry in which contact between these different fields will lead to important advances, much as contact between condensed matter and particle physics did for the study of symmetry breaking (the source of multiple Nobel prizes, including this year’s and of the renormalization group. We (Brandeis Physics faculty Aparna Baskaran, Bulbul Chakraborty, Matthew Headrick, and Albion Lawrence) felt that an ideal way to promote this was to put together an intensive series of pedagogical lectures covering recent results in the aforementioned fields. With the encouragement of the National Science Foundation (due in large part to Brandeis’s IGERT program in Geometry and Dynamics we took advantage of our deep contacts with the Indian physics community to put together an Advanced Studies Institute (ASI) on thermalization, under the auspices of the new International Center for the Theoretical Sciences (ICTS) in Bangalore, and co-organized by Chandan Dasgupta (Indian Institute of Science), Gautam Mandal (TIFR, Mumbai), Sanjib Sabhapandit (Raman Research Institute and ICTS), and Krishnendu Sengupta (IACS , Kolkata).The school was extremely successful, with beautiful lectures on cutting-edge physics from the leading experts in their respective areas. We recommend these lectures highly to those interested in these subjects. Links to the lecture notes, and to some related review articles, can be found here:and there is a YouTube channel for the lectures here:

# Thermalization From Glasses to Black Holes

December 5, 2013 By