As part of this workshop, The British Liquid Crystal Society (BLCS), the Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics Group (SMTG) of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Isaac Newton Institute (INI) will be holding a one day workshop on the molecular modelling and theory of liquid crystals at the Isaac Newton Institute on Friday 22 March 2013. If you are already registered for the workshop on Analytical and Computational Paths from Molecular Foundations to Continuum Descriptions, you are welcome to attend this event at no extra charge; there is no need to register separately.
Many of the phenomena exhibited by liquid crystals occur on the macroscopic or mesoscopic length scale. This makes the application of continuum theories, as exemplified by the orientational elasticity theory of Oseen and Frank, the order tensor descriptions of Landau and de Gennes, and the hydrodynamics of Ericksen, Leslie and Parodi, particularly fruitful. Along with the continuum theory go the ideas of defect structures and textures, which give liquid crystals a beautiful appearance, as well as involving some beautiful mathematical ideas. In recent years, however, interest in the molecular or particle-based description of liquid crystals has steadily increased. This is partly motivated by the ability of experiments to probe down to the nanoscale, partly by the explosion of interest in colloidal suspensions in which the constituent particles are of micron size, and partly from the desire to relate molecular structure and interactions to liquid crystalline properties and phase behaviour in a predictive way. Here, computer simulation plays a key role, especially in regimes where the assumptions of continuum theories are suspect. Finally, the upsurge in development of classical density functional theories of liquids, starting with Onsager's original treatment, has given another link between molecular shape and behaviour in bulk and in confined geometry.
This workshop will bring together experts in all the above fields, to compare and contrast the various approaches, and discuss topical problems in liquid crystals to which analytical methods, and computational techniques, may provide the solutions.