Leo Kadanoff is a theoretical physicist and applied mathematician based at the James Franck Institute at the University of Chicago. He has made important contributions to research in the properties of matter, the development of urban areas, statistical models of physical systems, and the development of chaos in simple mechanical and fluid systems. His best-known contribution was in the development of the concepts of "scale invariance" and "universality" as they are applied to phase transitions. More recently, he has been involved in the understanding of singularities in fluid flow.

Among Dr. Kadanoff's numerous honours, he is a past recipient of the National Medal of Science (US), the Grande Medaille d'Or of the Académie des Sciences de l'Institut de France, the Wolf Foundation Prize, the Boltzmann Medal of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, and the Centennial Medal of Harvard University. He is also a past President of the American Physical Society.

Past PI Talks:
•    “Making a Splash--Breaking a Neck, The Making of Complexity in Physical Systems”: http://pirsa.org/09030002/.
•     All recorded PI talks by Prof. Kadanoff may be viewed here.

Talks by Leo Kadanoff

Slippery Waves: Brilliance Brings Blind Spots

Superfluidity and superconductivity are two remarkable phenomena in which, at low temperatures, materials abruptly gain the ability to flow without friction. Microscopic quantum theories of these phases of matter were constructed in blockbuster papers of Lev Landau (1940) and John Bardeen, Leon Cooper, and J. Robert Schrieffer (1957).

Is the renormalization Group Really that Ugly?

In 1665, the clockmaker Christiaan Huygens noticed that two pendulum clocks hanging on a wall tend to synchronize the motion of their pendulums. A similar scenario occurs with two metronomes placed on a piano: they interact through vibrations in the wood and will eventually coordinate their motion. These effects are stable against small perturbations. Such stability is not predicted by either Hamiltonian mechanics or by few-body quantum theory. Nonetheless they can be seen as occurring within a simple model introduced by Kolmogorov.