Are we “at home in the universe”? Is life the way we know it is nothing but a statistical fluke, or is it part of a deterministic process begging to happen in a diverse molecular soup? Geological evidence of cyanobacteria existence dates back 3.7 billion years ago, suggesting that life did not wait much for luck to emerge on our 4.5 billions years old planet. And perhaps life indeed should be expected as a deterministic consequence of complexity. The seemingly spontaneous, some say divine, formation of complex structures with diverse function out of mud intrigued philosophers and scientists from the beginning of history. This notion of “order for free” and self-organization has recently became appealing for physicist and material scientists dealing with complex matter.
The world is complex – not only in the philosophical sense, but also in the very material sense. Most materials we encounter daily are non-crystalline, dynamic, or gooey — i.e. complex materials; from the ink we use to write a check, to the very skin we live in, from the patterns on a seashell, to the membrane surrounding a living cell. A physicist treating self assembly tries to establish an experimental and a theoretical framework for emergent, complex phenomena built on the foundations of the underlying geometry, energy source, and constituent compounds. Complex, self-organize systems aspire to explore systems where a “plain vanilla” description is not enough. Adopting Feynman’s spirit “What I can not make I do not understand”, we program the self assembly of complex matter. By making, we hope to discover the underlying laws and formulating set of rules and relations that would help biologists and engineers to unravel and to re-invent the fabric of our existence.
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|Advisor:||Chaikin, Paul M.|
|Commitee:||Seeman, Nadrian C., Grosberg, Alexander, Mincer, Allen, Sleator, Tycho|
|School:||New York University|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-B 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Physics, Materials science|
|Keywords:||Colloids, DNA origami, Meta materials, Programable self assembly|
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