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Tuesday, September 24, 2019
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


2019 KAC Lecture: The Life and Death of Turbulence

Nigel Goldenfeld
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Turbulence is the last great unsolved problem of classical physics. But there is no consensus on what it would mean to actually solve this problem. In this colloquium, I propose that turbulence is most fruitfully regarded as a problem in non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, and will show that this perspective explains turbulent drag behavior measured over 80 years, and makes predictions that have been experimentally tested in 2D turbulent soap films. I will also explain how this perspective is useful in understanding the laminar-turbulence transition, establishing it as a non-equilibrium phase transition whose critical behavior has been predicted and tested experimentally. This work connects transitional turbulence with statistical mechanics and renormalization group theory, high energy hadron scattering, the statistics of extreme events, and even population biology.



Nigel Goldenfeld is a Swanlund Chair, Professor of Physics Department in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), the director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute for Universal Biology, and the leader of the Biocomplexity group at Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. Goldenfeld is a co-founder of Numerix, a company that develops software for risk analysis of financial derivatives, and the author of the textbook "Phase Transitions and Renormalization Group," a widely used graduate textbook in statistical physics. He is well known for his work on Phase Transition and the Renormalization Group, Dynamics and Pattern Formation, and D-Wave Superconductivity. He is a Member of US National Academy of Sciences (2010), a Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2010), and a Fellow of American Physical Society (1995).

Host: Angel E. Garcia