Pattern Formation in Nature: Why is the Universe not Boring?
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The universe is not a rigid clockwork, but neither is it formless and random. Instead, it is filled with highly organized, evolved structures that have somehow emerged from the simple rules of physics. Many natural systems spontaneously self-organize into surprisingly ordered structures, even though they are driven far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Regular spatial patterns emerge, for example, as ripples on wind blown sand, convection cells in heated fluids and columnar fracture patterns in basalt flows. These phenomena exist in spite of the universal tendency towards disorder. How is this possible? In this talk, I will explore the physics of lab-scale nonlinear patterns, and attempt a live demonstration.