Self-organization across scales: from nm to parsec (SOcraSCALES)

5 - 16 September 2022

Erwin Frey, Frank Jenko, Andreas Burkert

Isolated systems tend to evolve towards thermal equilibrium, a special state that has been a research focus in physics for more than a century. By contrast, most processes studied in ORIGINS are far from equilibrium. A fundamental, overarching feature of all these processes is the emergence of structure, order, and information, or in short self-organization. If one wants to understand such physical phenomena from the molecular to the galactic scale, one has to face the challenge of investigating systems where different physics and a multitude of scales are strongly interlinked. There is a need for a holistic approach that combines expertise ranging from theories of the universe to non-equilibrium physics and theories of complex living systems. Such different fields can be interconnected conceptually and mathematically , e.g., by defining collective states of matter to reduce the physics to the most relevant degrees of freedom. While the particular “language” in the various disciplines may differ, we all share the common challenge to understand how the collective interaction between building blocks leads to system-level properties.