Spatio-temporal chaos in electroconvection: attempting to predict the next step

Michael Dennin, University of California, Irvine

Understanding spatio-temporal chaos is one of the outstanding problems in nonlinear dynamics. Loosely speaking, spatio-temporal chaos is a state of a deterministic system that has been driven out of equilibrium and has unpredictable behavior in both space and time. Hydrodynamical systems, especially thermal convection, are well suited for the study of spatio-temporal chaos. This talk will be in two parts. First, it will provide an introduction to spatio-temporal chaos using two examples from thermal convection. This will include highlighting the challenges involved in characterizing spatio-temporal chaos. The second half of the talk will focus on a particular example of spatio-temporal chaos that occurs in electroconvection in nematic liquid crystals. I will discuss why this particular example of spatio-temporal chaos promises to be instrumental in furthering our understanding of the phenomena.

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Last Modified: April 15, 1998