Lecture

Cracking the glass mystery CANCELLED

Dr. Liesbeth Janssen
Blauwe Zaal, Auditorium

Due to the recent developments concerning the corona virus this program has been cancelled. Please check our regularly updated news article for further updates about the Studium Generale program.

Dr. Liesbeth Janssen TU/e examines one of the most intriguing unsolved phenomena in physics: the behavior of glassy materials. Unraveling this mystery will bring numerous applications within reach.

In physics, the three best-known states of matter are gas, liquid and solid. But there is also a phase that looks like both a liquid and a solid at the same time: the glass phase. The macroscopic behavior of this phase doesn’t seem to match with the material’s atomic structure at all; while the material feels hard, it lacks a regular crystalline structure. Physicists still cannot explain the transition from a liquid to this special solid form; to this day it remains a mystery.

Since 2012, theoretical physicist dr. Liesbeth Janssen tries to better understand and eventually solve the phenomenon. She works on the development of an entirely new theory – though based on existing theories like the Mode Coupling Theory – that should predict where and how the transition to the glass phase occurs based on a single input: the structure of the material. Solving the glass mystery will bring numerous applications within reach, like fast-working computer chips or recyclable plastic. The glass phase can even help us get a better grasp on mechanisms behind asthma and cancer metastasis.