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Liquid Crystal Defects and their Geometry, Active and Solid Liquid Crystals, and Related Systems


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24th June 2013 to 28th June 2013

Organisers: Oleg Lavrentovich (Kent State University), Tom Lubensky (University of Pennsylvania), Antonio de Simone (SISSA) and Mark Warner University of Cambridge.

Workshop Theme

Typically described by their well-ordered structures, liquid crystal phases were first identified and even named by their topological defects. The rich interplay between geometry, topology, and optics is ubiquitous through all liquid crystals . We will discuss their characterisation, and also their essential appearance in complex systems such as colloidal liquid crystals and in blue phases. Their exploitation in templating complex structures, and their special character in non-simple spaces (such as those with Gaussian curvature) will also be examined.

In parallel, the workshop is concerned with solid liquid crystals, both elastomers where the director remains mobile, and glasses where the director is pinned to the material frame. The unique mechanics of solid liquid crystals, and its connection with techniques of quasi-convexification first exploited in Martensites, is an active area of research. Mechanics connects with the defects theme since topological defects in LC solids, on illumination or temperature change, cause changes in Gaussian curvature or topology. These consequences, and those when nematics become active, will also be explored.

This workshop will bring together experts in all the above fields, to compare and contrast the various themes, to discuss topical and future problems and methods of their solution, and to explore possible applications.

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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons