Physik seit Einstein
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Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Technische Universtiät Berlin
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Brownian Motion, Diffusion and Beyond (SYBM) des FV DY und des AKB

In one of his epochal 1905 works, Einstein showed how the postulates of thermodynamics and kinetic theory of heat lead to the conclusion that small but macroscopic particles suspended in a fluid must perform an unceasing motion. He obtained the laws governing this motion which was identified as Brownian motion. Einstein's approach contained in a nutshell some of the modern approaches to stochastic processes, and encouraged other scientists such as Smoluchowski, Langevin and Planck who had their own interests in molecular motion. Thus, Smoluchowski in 1906 formulated a probabilistic approach to the problem based on what we call now random walks. He was also the one who later deeply discussed thermodynamic implications of the approach, and applied it to description of non-equilibrium phenomena. The widely used term ''random walk'' stemmed from a question put forward to readers of ''Nature'' by Carl Pearson in the same year 1905 motivated by a biological problem. Langevin in 1908 introduced an approach based on what nowadays is called stochastic differential (or Langevin) equation, which was claimed to be ''infinitely simpler''. This approach was based on the introduction of what we now call "noise". These works altogether had a strong impact on our understanding of a wide class of problems in statistical physics like transport phenomena in liquids and solids, behaviour of electric circuits, reaction kinetics, and nucleation of new phases. Especially the two later nonequilibrium problems stimulated research in nonlinear stochastic dynamics and unveiled many facettes of nonlinear stochastic phenomena in fundamental science and in applications.

Our symposium should depict modern developments in the field of diffusion-controlled processes, fluctuations and noise. Recent experiments in the field gave new and unexpected results and lead to new theoretical concepts. It proves the vitality, importance and applicability of stochastic approaches put forward by Einstein in 1905.

The speakers of our Symposium are:

Prof. C. Bechinger (Universität Stuttgart)
Prof. Ch. van der Broeck (Limburgs Universitair Centrum)
Prof. G. Maret (Konstanz)
Prof. J. Prost (ESPCI/Paris)
Prof. L. Sander (Univ. of Michigan)

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