The propensity of open dynamical systems to break symmetries and generate patterns, structures and functions – in other words: to self-organize – is one of the fascinating and ubiquitious conditions in nature. It is visible on large scales in the emergence of planets, stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies, on intermediate scales in cloud formation, turbulence, and swarming phenomena, and on smaller scales in neural networks like the human brain, or even the nano-scale functions of life on the cellular and sub-cellular level. An essential property of these systems is that they dwell far from thermal equilibrium. From the quest for possible general principles underlying self-organization phenomena to in-depth investigations focused on particularly relevant systems, research at the MPIDS spans a wide arc. This endeavour is the mission of the MPIDS.
The Max-Planck-Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization consists presently of two departments and four independent Max Planck Research groups.