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 three departments and six independent Max Planck Research groups.
Laboratory for Fluid Physics, Pattern Formation and Biocomplexity (LFPB) (Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Eberhard Bodenschatz)
We are investigating the dynamics of a variety of complex nonlinear systems both experimentally and theoretically. Our interests are currently focused on biocomplexity in cell-biology, Lagrangian properties of fully developed turbulence, pattern formation and spatio-temporal chaos, and the Geodynamics of the earth's crust.
The wide field of complex fluids comprises biological matter, like cell membranes or cytoplasma, as well as emulsions or granular materials. The main focus is the qualitatively new phenomena, which emerge when many similar elements (or sub-systems), like surfactant or polymer molecules, proteins, grains or other, are brought into intimate interaction. The resulting system properties unfold an enormous variety. Aside from develpoments with high technological potential, they lead us directly to basic questions of structure formation: how does nature manage to get from 'being 'to 'becoming'?
Since March 2018, Prof. Ramin Golestanian from Oxford University is a director heading the department ‘Living Matter Physics’. The department is engaged in a wide range of theoretical research aimed at a multi-scale understanding of the dynamics of living systems from a physical perspective.