Steven Lade

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

Revision as of 00:58, 15 April 2009 by SteveLade (talk | contribs)

To the extent that labels work any more in these sorts of fields, I'm a theoretical physicist. I'm undertaking a PhD at the Nonlinear Physics Centre at The Australian National University under the supervision of Prof Yuri Kivshar. Most of the group works on nonlinear optics -- solitons, optical lattices, nonlinear vortices, etc. really nice nonlinear dynamics in other words -- or phenomena with similar equations of motion like Bose-Einstein condensates.

I, meanwhile, have been looking at a class of models called ratchets. In short these are systems periodic in space and time which achieve a nonzero average velocity through breaking of spatial and/or temporal symmetry. For example, a particle in a sawtooth potential (which is flat on average) under the influence of an additional oscillating force (zero on average) which through the combination of these forces moves on average in one direction. Such a ratchet could be implemented in lots of different areas, but historically the one people were focusing on were (processive) molecular motors like myosin-V and kinesin which also move without any net bias telling them which way to go.

This got me onto molecular motors. I'm not really looking at them in a ratchet sense any more. What I have is access to some single-molecule time series for their motion (nm in space and us in time!), trying to convert this data into an effective equation motion in order to uncover details about its dynamics and mechanical structure, and comparing against simulations another collaborator is doing.

Is this complex systems? Probably not. I'm looking at everything in a rather reductionist manner. In fact, despite having attended some other complex systems events, I still don't really know what complex systems are. That's one reason I applied to come to the summer school! The other reason is that, as you can hopefully tell from the above, I'm interested in interdisciplinary work. These sorts of events, and Santa Fe in particular, seem to be where people of a like mind tend to hang out, so let's meet up and do some collaborating! -- even if it's not necessarily on complex systems.

Outside of work, among other things I'm keen on outdoor activities, mainly bushwalking (which you'd call hiking or backpacking, I think). I'd like to do some while at Santa Fe, it sounds like a great place for it.

See you in June!