Fifth Annual Greater Boston Area Statistical Mechanics Meeting
Saturday, October 18, 2003
Brandeis University

Update: Approximately 76 people attended the Fifth Annual meeting. There were 26 contributed and 4 invited talks. Thany you to everyone who attended.

The tentative date for the 6th Annual Meeting is Saturday, October 16, 2004. Please let us know if this date conflicts with anything.

Please join us on Saturday, October 18, 2003 at Brandeis University to meet and listen to your colleagues in the New England area working in statistical mechanics. The main goal of these meetings is to offer an informal, friendly, and supportive environment where people from a variety of departments and institutions can meet and exchange ideas and where old and new friends can meet.

Schedule   Contributed Talks  Registration form   Directions   Announcements   Organizing committee   Advisory committee

There will be coffee and bagels from 9:00 am to 9:30 am and four sessions beginning at 9:30 am. Each session features a 25 minute invited talk, and the first three sessions also include a total of 27 three minute contributed talks. Viewgraphs can be used to show graphs and other visualizations of results, but the use of viewgraphs to present equations is discouraged. Contributors also are encouraged to post their viewgraphs during the coffee breaks to facilitate discussions. Lunch will last for 90 minutes to give attendees a chance to mingle and plenty of chairs and tables will be available. Coffee will be available at all times. The meeting will conclude at approximately 3:15 pm.

All talks will be in Abelson, Room 131, in the Department of Physics. Signs will be posted.


9:00 - 9:30 amBagels, coffee, and tea    
9:30 - 10:25 am Morning Session I Claudio Chamon, Boston University Chair
9:30 - 10:00 am Alexander van Oudenaarden MIT "Noise and multistability in genetic networks"
10:00 - 10:25 am Contributed talks (7)    
10:25 - 10:55 am Coffee and informal discussions    
10:55 am - 11:50 am Morning Session II Udyan Mohanty, Boston College Chair
10:55 - 11:25 am Antonio Castro-Neto Boston University "Quantum frustration of decoherence in some open quantum systems"
11:25 - 11:50 am Contributed talks (8)    
11:50 - 1:20 pm Lunch and Conversations    
1:20 - 2:25 pm Afternoon Session I Dean Astumian, University of Maine Chair
1:20 - 1:55 pm Contributed talks (11)    
1:55 - 2:25 pm David Reichman Harvard University "Aspects of the physics of pattern formation in and out of equilibrium"
2:25 - 2:40 pm Coffee and informal discussions    
2:40 - 3:10 pm Afternoon Session II Gyorgy Korniss, RPI Chair
2:40 - 3:10 pm Alex Levine UMass, Amherst "Affine versus non-affine deformations and rigidity percolation in actin networks"

Contributed talks

Session I (7 talks)

  1. Jané Kondev, Brandeis University, "Mechanics of DNA packaging in viruses."
  2. Richard Oberdorf, Brandeis University, "Statistical properties of secondary structure in compact polymers."
  3. R. Rajesh, Brandeis University, "Branched polymers and lattice gas models."
  4. Jaehyuk Choi, MIT, "Universality of DLA fractal dimension."
  5. A. Spasic, Boston College, "Asymmetric charge neutralization of DNA."
  6. Ahmed Ismail, MIT, "Efficient simulation of very long polymers via coarse-graining."
  7. Sid Redner, Boston University, "Dynamics of consensus formation in majority rule models."

Session II (8 talks)

  1. Dean Astumian, University of Maine, "Chemical peristalsis."
  2. Buddhapriya Chakrabarti, UMass, Amherst. "Instabilities, coarsening and chaos in driven systems: growing interfaces and sheared wormlike micelles."
  3. Daniel Blair, Harvard University, "The geometry of crumpled paper."
  4. Louis Colonna-Romano, Clark University, "Optimality of Wang-Landau sampling."
  5. Yong Wu, UMass, Amherst, "Tunneling time of the Wang-Landau method in the 1D Ising Model in the Fortuin-Kasteleyn representation."
  6. Gyorgy Korniss, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, "Absence of first-order transition in the dynamic phase diagram of periodically driven Ising ferromagnets."
  7. Shan-Wen Tsai, Boston University, "Singular current response from statistically rare distributions of impurities in d-wave superconductors."
  8. Courtney Lannert, Wellesley College, "Importance of ring exchange in the Hubbard model applied to high Tc materials."

Session III (11 talks)

  1. Greg Huber, UMass, Boston, "Anomalous diffusion in bacterial carpets."
  2. Itai Cohen, Harvard University, "On the packing of sheared spheres in confined spaces."
  3. Chris Rycroft, MIT, "Analysis of stochastic models for granular drainage."
  4. Allison Ferguson, Brandeis University, "Dense gravity-driven granular flows."
  5. Junchao Xia, Clark University, "Simulation of earthquakes using the Burridge-Knopoff model."
  6. Carmen Gagne, Clark University, "Simulations of spinodal nucleation in systems with elastic interactions."
  7. Jan Fiala, University of Maine, "Thermodynamics of the Farey spin chain."
  8. Hasan Guclu, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, "Extreme value distributions in small world synchronized systems."
  9. Balazs Kozma, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, "Edwards-Wilkinson model on small-world substrates."
  10. Udayan Mohanty, Boston College, "Relationship between kinetics and thermodynamics of deeply supercooled liquids."
  11. Bulbul Chakraborty, Brandeis University, "Emergence of the Vogel-Fulcher Law from a microscopic model."

The cost of the meeting is being subsidized by the New England Section of the American Physical Society, and hence there is no registration fee if you register by the deadline. However, it is necessary to register in advance so that sufficient food and refreshments will be available. The deadline for registration is Wednesday, October 15. If you miss the deadline, you are still welcome to attend the meeting, but the cost will be $10, and we cannot guarantee that food will be available. Information about joining the New England Section if you are not already a member will be available at the meeting.

Directions to Brandeis. After you enter the campus, you will need to take an alternate route due to construction. As you enter Brandeis through the main entrance on South Street, drive toward the police booth and then take the right fork. Go up the hill and then make the first left. Drive further up the hill and around the biology building until you reach the end of the road. You will now be at the K parking lot adjacent to the Physics building. You can park there or in any free spot along the way. The Physics building is on your left as you enter the parking lot. The building has an observatory on the rooftop and can be seen from reasonably far away. No parking permits are needed.

The Brandeis/Roberts commuter rail stop is very convenient. Trains depart to North Station at 3:44 pm, 6:11 pm, 6:34 pm, and 10:14 pm. Buses are also available.

Registration form

Name: E-mail:
Affiliation: Position:
Would you like to be on the e-mail list for announcements of future meetings?
A "make it yourself" sandwich buffet will be available at no charge. Please let us know if you are vegetarian.
Would you like to give a 3-4 minute contributed talk?
If so, please give the title of your talk:

Previous meetings:

  1. The first meeting took place on Saturday, October 16, 1999 at Brandeis. We also honored the memory and work of Eugene Gross, a founding member of the physics faculty at Brandeis University and researcher in statistical mechanics.
  2. Saturday, October 14, 2000.
  3. Saturday, October 20, 2001.
  4. Saturday, October 19, 2002.


Organizing committee

Advisory committee

Please send questions, comments, and corrections to Harvey Gould,

Updated 20 October 2003.