Viewpoints on Emergent Phenomena in Non-equilibrium Systems

23.06.2014 to 24.06.2014
Richard Blythe (Edinburgh), Tobias Galla (Manchester)

Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics, JCMB, Edinburgh

Key Speakers:
Jean-Philippe Bouchaud (Capital Fund Management); Mark Buchanan; Jean-Sebastien Caux (Amsterdam); Gavin Crooks (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory); Jorge Kurchan (ENS); Satya Majumdar (Orsay); Sidney Nagel (Chicago); and Christian Pfleiderer (TUM).

Until recently, establishing the fundamental physical principles of systems that are far from equilibrium – e.g., because they are driven by their environment, are slowly relaxing to an equilibrium state, or are excited by non-thermal fluctuations – has been a largely theoretical enterprise. Advances in experimental techniques (e.g., on small quantum-mechanical or biological systems subject to strong fluctuations) have led to a much greater practical relevance of this theory to the extent that understanding and controlling far-from-equilibrium systems is recognised as a 21st Century "Grand Challenge" area by bodies such as the EPSRC. The "Emergence and Physics Far From Equilibrium" network was established by the EPSRC to draw together the UK's research activity and develop a focus for future research in this area.

The meeting will comprise four sessions in the following areas:

  • Non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and applications
  • Arrested states in condensed matter physics
  • Quantum mechanical devices far from equilibrium
  • Non-equilibrium dynamics of complex systems

Each session will feature two prominent speakers presenting complementary views on the topic designed to provoke discussion that will lead to a roadmap for future research in emergence and physics far from equilibrium. Time will also be devoted to interaction with the network's industrial partners.

Workshop fees

There will be a fee of £20 to attend this two-day workshop. We will also be holding a conference dinner on Monday 23rd June, which will cost an additional £40. Payment will be made by credit card at the time of registration (see below for details).

Members of the EPSRC Network in Emergence and Physics far from Equilibrium, as listed here, will have their fees directly paid for out of the Network grant, so please do not make a credit card payment if you fall into this category. Unfortunately, we are not permitted to support PhD students using funds from this grant. Students should therefore pay the fee and claim it from their training support fund. In the event that you do not have such a fund at your disposal, you may apply to the Higgs Centre on registration for support towards the costs of attending the workshop. Please note that only limited funding is available for this purpose.

Travel and accommodation

All participants are responsible for arranging their own travel to, and accommodation at, the workshop. We recommend arriving on Sunday 22nd June and departing in the evening of Tuesday 24th June. We plan to start around 9am on the Monday morning, and finish around 5pm on Tuesday afternoon. You will easily make any trains that depart from Edinburgh Waverley from 6pm onwards.

Members of the EPSRC Network in Emergence and Physics far from Equilibrium may claim costs of up to £75 for travel, and £102 per night for accommodation. Please keep your receipts and follow these instructions to submit your claim after the workshop.

Reasonably-priced accommodation near the University's Kings Buildings campus (venue for the workshop) includes a budget chain hotel:

and a number of guest houses / B&Bs:
We are aware that some of these guest houses may offer a discount to visitors to the University, so please mention you are visiting the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh when making your booking.
You may also find sites such as and helpful to arrange accommodation. If you wish to stay near the campus, please enter EH9 3JZ as the postcode in a search. The campus is however only a short bus ride (~20 minutes) from the city centre, so any city centre hotel would also serve you well.
Registration and payment
Registration for this event is now closed.
If you are still due to make a payment, please do so using the University's ePay service. The fee is £20 to attend the workshop only, and £60 to attend the workshop and the conference dinner.
If you missed the registration deadline but wish to attend the event, believe you registered but do not see your name in the List of participants above (click the text below the list of speakers that says List of participants to check), or have registered but can no longer attend, please contact R.A.Blythe [at] (subject: Query%20about%20%22Viewpoints...%22%20workshop) (Richard Blythe).
Workshop venue - The workshop will take place in the meeting room of the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics, which is located on the 4th Floor of the James Clerk Maxwell Building on the King's Buildings campus of the University of Edinburgh. The first scientific session begins at 9.15am; registration will open from 8.45am on Monday morning.
On arrival on Monday morning - Please register at a desk in the foyer outside the Magnet Cafe on Level 3 of the James Clerk Maxwell Building (JCMB) from 8.45 am. The main entrance to JCMB is on Level 2: go through the large sliding doors and take the stairs immediately to the left. A portrait of Peter Higgs faces you as you start to ascend the stairs; the registration desk will be opposite you when you reach the top. From here, you will be directed to the Higgs Centre meeting room - posters will also point you in the right direction.
Getting to the James Clerk Maxwell Building - Click here for directions to the JCMB by various modes of transport. The directions provided by Google Maps are much improved these days, and will give you accurate instructions to the main entrance of JCMB - click here for a map with a pin in the right place. Click "Directions" (top left), enter your starting point, choose your mode of transport (car, bus, foot), and you're done.
Please note that it is very important that you enter via the main entrance, otherwise getting horribly lost is an almost certainty. Briefly, if you arrive on the 41 bus (destination "King's Buildings" - do not board any other 41 bus) you should alight at the final bus stop which is on campus. Head south towards the Scottish Agricultural College (this is the direction the bus will have been travelling just before arrival). Turn left, and JCMB is in front of you behind a circular architectural feature that is impossible to describe in words, but will be immediately recognisable. If you walk to the campus, or arrive on any other bus, aim for Gate 4 onto the King's Buildings Campus, which is on Mayfield Road opposite Blackbarony Road (see map). Follow the road onto the campus until it forks. Take the right fork (signposted "Magnet Cafe"): the steps that lie far ahead of you take you right into the main entrance of JCMB.
Scientific programme - The timetable for the workshop is here - click 'Detailed view' to see all the sessions in detail. You will see that the primary purpose of this workshop is to discuss new directions in Emergence and Non-equilibrium Physics. Please come prepared to say a little (<1 minute) about your interests in this area, and where you see the field heading over the next few years.
Conference dinner - If you have signed up for the Conference Dinner, it will take place at Howies Restaurant on Waterloo Place at 7pm on Monday evening - click here for the Google Maps pin.  It takes about half an hour to reach Howies from King's Buildings by bus, so there should be time to stop by hotel rooms etc on the way if need be. We will provide assistance on the day, but if you make your own way please be aware that there are two branches of Howies in Edinburgh - the right one is on Waterloo Place.
Local customs - Edinburgh has an excellent bus service. Single tickets cost £1.50 and should be bought on the bus: no change is given, so bring plenty of pound coins and 50p pieces to avoid overpaying. If you intend to use more than two buses in one day, you should purchase a Day Ticket for £3.50. Again no change is given.