School on Statistical Physics of Complex Systems. Part II: Courses & Seminars


17-07-2023 a 28-07-2023


9:30, 11:00 and 12:00


Facultaty of Physics


Classroom V11G, floor 1



9:30 | “Citizen science for the study of complex social phenomena”

Conferenciant: Prof. Josep Perelló (Department of Condensed Matter Physics & Institute of Complex Systems, Universitat de Barcelona).

Resum: We will introduce the concept of citizen science and reflect on the possibilities to use participatory research practices for a better understanding of several social phenomena from complex systems and statistical physics perspectives. We will talk about the different steps where citizens and civil society organisations can be involved from the project definition to the data interpretation and which key data-based knowledges can be obtained both valid from the participants' perspectives and for academic scientific publications. To do so, we will be sharing the specific experiences and particular the research processes behind several citizen science projects that have used complex systems to develop behavioural experiments with game theory in different contexts, dynamical models for pedestrian mobility in neighborhoods or specific technologies such as a chatbot to better learn about mental health social support networks.


11:00 | “Collective intelligence: from natural to artificial systems”

Conferenciant: Prof. Vito Trianni (Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie della Cognizione, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche,  Rome, Italy),

Resum: The course will address collective intelligence as observed in natural systems and related implementations in artificial systems. The complex dynamics underlying the studied collective behaviour will be analysed and distilled to determine the individual rules underling the emergence of complex macroscopic patterns.

The course will cover the following topics:

- exploration through (reinforced) random walks

- self-organised aggregation

- coordinated motion

- collective decision-making

- task allocation


12:00 | “Topological soft matter: from liquid crystals to active materials

Conferenciant: Prof. Teresa López-León (Gulliver Lab, The French National Centre for Scientific Research & École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de Paris, Paris, France).

Resum: The last few decades have witnessed remarkable advances in our understanding of how topological constraints impact biological and soft matter, thanks to the integration of increasingly sophisticated experiments and numerical simulations. Fascinating behaviors have been seen to emerge in ordered systems, where topological constraints and geometrical frustration typically prevent the system from reaching its inherent ground state, resulting in complex organizations in which topological defects play a central role. In this course, I will address these questions in the framework of liquid crystals, a unique type of topological soft matter that exhibits partially ordered states with both fluid and crystalline characteristics. I will start by introducing these systems. I will show you their symmetries, physical properties, and the main models to describe them. Then, I will introduce the concepts of geometrical frustration and topological constraints using the example of a spherical shell of liquid crystal. This experimental system will enable me to introduce a variety of topological defects, with increasing complexity, as well as to study different types of defect-defect interactions and interconversions. Finally, I will talk about active nematics, a new class of liquid crystals combining local orientational order and self-sustained flows. In these out-of-equilibrium materials, topological defects behave not only as singularities structuring the material, but also as self-propelling particles orchestrating the system flows.



15:00, Mon 24/07: Blai Casals (UB, Barcelona): "Avalanche criticality during ferroic switching."

15:00, Tue 25/07: Sergi Valverde (UPF-CSIC, Barcelona): "Rise and fall of technological innovations."

15:00, Thu 27/07: Dante R. Chialvo (UNSAM/CONICET, Buenos Aires): "Complexity & Criticality: (often) two sides of the same coin."



Link to school for further information: