**D.L.
Stein: Research on Disordered and Random Materials (In and Out of
Equilibrium)**

for Non-Physicists

One of the greatest achievements following the quantum
revolution in the early years of the 20th century was the rapid series
of breakthroughs in understanding the electronic, thermal, and mechanical
properties of the crystalline solid state of matter. This was quickly
followed by fundamental advances in understanding other states of
matter in which order and symmetry play a central role. Such systems
include ferromagnets, superconductors and superfluids, liquid crystals,
dielectrics and ferroelectrics, and many others.

Our resulting deep physical and mathematical understanding of homogeneous
systems in the solid and liquid state has been of both fundamental
scientific and technological importance. The two are deeply interconnected,
and together have spurred a profound technological revolution throughout
the second half of the last century and into the current one.

However, a large gap remains in our understanding of the physics of
condensed matter. There exist many systems, both familiar and unfamiliar,
in which randomness or disorder plays a key role, and in which our
mathematical and physical understanding remains comparatively primitive.

**NEXT**

**
**