Prof. Mehran Kardar

Francis L Friedman Professor of Physics

Primary DLC

Department of Physics

MIT Room: 6C-315

Areas of Interest and Expertise

Statistical Mechanics and Condensed Matter Physics
Phase Transition, Disordered Systems, and Fluctuation Phenomena
Dynamics of Growing Surfaces
Entropic Elasticity in Polymers, Gels, and Networks
Polymers in Random Media
Quantum Interference and Magnetoconductance of Localized Electronics
Phase Transitions of Liquid Crystal Films
Self-Organized Criticality
Rough Substrates
Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics
Condensed Matter: Theory
Statistical Mechanics of Surfaces, Growth, Random Systems and Plasma Transitions

Research Summary

Professor Kardar's research has mainly focused on the following problems in Statistical Mechanics:

(1) Non-equilibrium collective behavior as in turbulence, aggregation and deposition in growth, transport with random inputs and outputs., etc., is best described starting from phenomenological equations constructed on the basis of symmetries and conservation laws. We have successfully applied this methodology to several problems involving polymers, flux lines, and growing surfaces.

(2) Disordered systems such as spin- and flux-glasses, are characterized by a complex (free) energy landscape and slow dynamics. Using analytical solutions, or clever numerical algorithms, we have found exact results, or bounds, for a number of simple glassy systems motivated by flux lines in superconductors. Even these simple models are of great value, indicating interesting connections to diverse problems in optimization, neural networks, and evolution.

(3) Biologically motivated problems such as the evolution of orientational selectivity in cells of the visual cortex, and conformations of heteropolymers.

Recent Work