Rare and Not-So Rare Events in Material Sciences and Beyond

Eric Vanden-Eijnden
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University

Many problems in material sciences but also physics, chemistry and biology can be abstractly formulated as a system that navigates over a complex energy landscape of high or infinite dimensions. Well-known examples include phase transitions of condensed matter, conformational changes of biopolymers, and chemical reactions. The energy landscape typically exhibits multiscale features, giving rise to the multiscale nature of the dynamics. The analysis of the transition pathways in such systems is a major challenges that we face in computational science. In this talk, I will review recent works done by scientists from several disciplines on probing such energy landscapes, and illustrate the techniques via examples like magnetic reversal micromagnetics, failure under stress in crystals structures, conformational change of peptides, etc.