Granular Matter as a Window into Collective Systems Far from Equilibrium, Complexity, and Scientific Prematurity

Granular matter serves as a prototype of collective systems far from equilibrium and can be used to exemplify many concepts now associated with nonlinear dynamics and complex systems

John Bridgewater’s name is intimately associated with granular matter and chemical engineering, and it is an honor to be able to offer a few personal remarks in this symposium. The granular matter domain is practically important and scientifically rich. The “practically important” aspect is old; the “scientifically rich” aspect is new. Granular matter is an example of a system where interactions among elementary building blocks—granules, in this case—does not give a glimpse of the behavior of the global system itself. Forced granular matter has become a paradigm of collective systems far from equilibrium and of complex systems, systems consisting of a large number of nonlinearly interacting parts.

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