I'm Patrick Charbonneau and I study glass.
The glass problem is trying to understand how something that looks like a liquid
really acts like a solid.
I often do this demo in dinner parties where I have a glass of wine, right?
Then the glass is made out of silicate it's an amorphous solid and the wine is a liquid
mostly water if you had access to the instantaneous position of the atoms in the
silicate or in the water, you'd be hard-pressed to distinguish them and yet if you run a movie one of them flows
I can take the the glass of wine and sip it
while the glass remains still, right? So understanding this distinction between
"How can something that looks like a liquid,
behave like a solid?" is at the core of the class
Read that the glass problem is a misnomer.
Because it's really a variety of problems convoluted into one single material. My specific specialty
in the Simons collaboration is is molecular simulations. That's my background. That's my strength.
What I like most is bringing new molecular simulations that push the theory outside of its comfort zone,
trying to force my theoretical colleague to react to do new results I bring up to the discussion.
Fundamental research can seem very abstract and sometimes even useless do something but the truth of it is that we're
pursuing this question because it's an easy question to formulate, yet a really hard one to answer.
There's always something in a given day that will be exciting. Ultimately. I'm driven by curiosity
not by results.