Beautiful and Practical Patterns
Department of Physics
University of Utah
Patterns can be found everywhere in nature: flowers, spots on a leopard, music. They have a spatial dependence and/or they can have a temporal dependence. In this talk a few systems where symmetry is broken causing patterns will be discussed. Atoms can form clusters with symmetries which influence the properties of solids formed with such clusters. An interesting example is the unusual class of solids known as quasicrystals. Their properties are unique. As to patterns in time there are examples in a variety of oscillators. One such device presented here is a heat engine, where heat generates coherent waves of sound. In fact, the chaotic nature of heat leads to order, sound of one frequency. This can be applied to a new class of energy converters, where heat can generate electricity with essentially no moving parts.