Interested in non-equilibrium statistical mechanics? Join us at the end of Week 2 to hear from Prof Christopher Jarzynski, theoretical physicist at the University of Maryland, father of nanoscale thermodynamics, and recipient of 2019 Onsager Prize!
Among others, Professor Jarzynski is known for deriving Jarzynski equality, confirmation of which was cited by the Nobel Committee for Physics as an application of one of the winning inventions of the 2018 Nobel Prize in physics—optical tweezers!
Title: Scaling down the laws of thermodynamics
Abstract: "Thermodynamics provides a robust conceptual framework and set of laws that govern the exchange of energy and matter. Although these laws were originally articulated for macroscopic objects, nanoscale systems also exhibit “thermodynamic-like” behavior – for instance, biomolecular motors convert chemical fuel into mechanical work, and single molecules exhibit hysteresis when manipulated using optical tweezers. To what extent can the laws of thermodynamics be scaled down to apply to individual microscopic systems, and what new features emerge at the nanoscale? I will describe some of the challenges and recent progress – both theoretical and experimental – associated with addressing these questions. Along the way, my talk will touch on non-equilibrium fluctuations, “violations” of the second law, the thermodynamic arrow of time, nanoscale feedback control, strong system-environment coupling, and quantum thermodynamics."
About the speaker:
Christopher Jarzynski received his A.B. degree from Princeton University in 1987, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1994, both in physics. For his doctoral dissertation, he studied adiabatic invariants in chaotic classical systems. He spent ten years at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and since 2006 he has been at the University of Maryland, College Park. Chris Jarzynski is a Distinguished University Professor of chemistry and biochemistry, with joint appointments in the Institute for Physical Science and Technology, and the Department of Physics. His research is primarily in the area of nonequilibrium statistical physics, where he has contributed to an understanding of how the laws of thermodynamics apply to nanoscale systems.
In 1997, Professor Jarzynski derived an equality that relates nonequilibrium fluctuations to equilibrium free energy differences, a result that has been verified in numerous experiments and has found applications in biophysics and computational chemistry. His current interests also include the thermodynamics of information processing, and shortcuts to adiabaticity in quantum, classical and stochastic systems. He has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and the Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
CUPS - Cambridge University Physics Society
We are a student-run university society organising scientific talks and other events for our members and public. CUPS is all about the physics you don’t do in your degree.
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