New Trends On Growth And Form

The conference New Trends On Growth And Form, organized in the honour of Yves Couder, aimed at spotlighting recent achievements and rising promising research directions in the field of nonlinear and out-of-equilibrium physics.

In the last decades, this field has been tremendously successful in generating powerful concepts related to instabilities, pattern formation and spatio-temporal chaos in continuum mechanics. These concepts and methods are now widely used in fields ranging from condensed matter to geophysics. In the last few years, physicists with this background culture have spread in many different domains, which has lead to the emergence of new questions and concepts. The conference aims at gathering experienced scientists from all over the word, who contributed by their work to the successes of non-linear physics, with younger researchers working in emergent domains. The conference will focus on (i) morphogenesis and biomimetics, (ii) singularities and cross-scale problems in continuum mechanics, and (iii) out-of-equilibrium processes, as appearing in different physical and living systems. As an underlying line, the conference will show how the theory of model systems and table-top experiments can provide new concepts and ideas.

Agay, June 20-25, 2010
The conference took place in a small village of the French Riviera in June 2010 and is organized by the GDR Méphy (GDR 3166) of the CNRS

Dowload the program here


Morphogenesis & Biomimetics:
The unifiying concept of morphogenesis appears in physical, geophysical and living systems. During the last fifty years, biology witnessed the discovery that all living forms are coded at the molecular level, as well as the development of powerful techniques to image, measure and study gene expression. Recent advances in morphogenesis have aimed to use ideas and methods from physics to bridge the gap between elementary processes at micro-scale and macroscopic forms. Two type of questions seem particularly active at the moment. How do living systems obey and use physics in the process of growing, changing morphology or organizing itself? How does a shape emerge from featureless tissue? (In the language of non-linear physics, how is the symmetry broken?) Which mechanisms are involved? The conference will address physical aspects of patterning and growth in plants and animals and in particular the emergent collective behaviour of cells that defines global morphology. Geophysics is another domain where non-linear science has provided tools and methods to tackle patterning issues (rivers, ripples and dunes, avalanches, soil convection, volcanoes) and, in particular, the scaling laws of these geological objects.

Singularities & cross-scales problems in Continuum Mechanics
Some problems in continuum mechanics sometimes naturally include singularities (fracture, friction, contact lines, interface flows) whereas other may spontaneously develop singular structures (crumpling singularities, localization or shear bands, interfacial singularities). In all cases the diverging field must be regularized at some lengthscale by a new physical phenomenon. This new physics at micro-scale, although absent from the macroscopic description, may rule the global system.

Out of Equilibrium Processes
Growth and Form are in essence the result of non equilibrium processes. In the last decades, nonlinear physics and the theory of instabilities have strongly contributed to a better understanding of the mechanisms ruling the selection at play during pattern formation. More recently, new approaches were initiated in order to study the processes ruling far from equilibrium situations (fracture propagation, turbulence, granular and plastic flow …). The relaxation processes become then more complex involving many time and length-scales. A subtle balance between external forcing and dissipation drives the dynamics and the coupling to the external environment becomes a key element of the description. Non-linearities define the transport properties and the types of spatial and spectral localization of the energy as well as other conserved quantities. As a result of all these effects, the system eventually reaches one of its numerous possible steady states or ages for ever. Fur! ther progresses in this matter, will require gathering new experimental results in many different fields and developing new theoretical frameworks. Dense soft materials (glasses, colloids, foams, grains, suspensions, Lennard-Jones fluids …) turn out to be an ideal playing ground for studying such non equilibrium processes.

Invited Lectures

  • Alain Arneodo
  • John Bush
  • Yves Couder
  • Jay Fineberg
  • Jerry Gollub
  • Leo Kadanoff
  • Albert Libchaber
  • Itamar Procaccia
  • Boris Shraiman
  • Harry Swinney
  • Jan Traas


A series of eleven 45 minutes invited lectures covered the different topics of the conference. The morning lecture introduced a thematic session, with 15 minutes oral presentations of selected abstracts and sollicited talks. These oral sessions were complemented by poster sessions, introduced by 3 minutes flash talks. Finally, sessions of scientific silent movies and pictures (Ciné-Club) will be organised.


Committee / Organization

Marc Rabaud, Bruno Andreotti, hilippe Claudin, Benoit Roman, Stephane Metens, Arezki Boudaoud, Olivier Pouliquen, Olivier Dauchot

with the invaluable help from Jeann Pullino


Registred participants (22nd of may 2010)

Aegerter Christof
Andersen Anders
Andreotti Bruno
Armon Shahaf
Arneodo Alain
Asnacios Atef
Bar Sinai Yohai
Barkley Dwight
Baroud Charles
Bayart Elsa
Ben Amar Martine
Bocquet LydÈric
Bohr Tomas
Bonamy Daniel
Boudaoud Arezki
Brau Fabian
Brunet Philippe
Bush John
Carbone Anna
Chomaz Jean-Marc
Chopin Julien
Cornelissen Annemiek
Cortet Pierre-Philippe
cottin-bizonne Cecile
Damman Pascal
Davaille Anne
Dawn Wendell
Doumenc FrÈdÈric
Durand Marc
EDDI Antonin
Enrique Rojas
Family Fereydoon
Fineberg Jay
Formosa-Jordan Pau
GAY Cyprien
GEMINARD Jean-Christophe
henry herve
Hure JÈrÈmy
Ib·Òez Santiago
Ishihara shuji
Lazarus VÈronique
Le Gal Patrice
Lebon Luc
Lhuissier Henri
Li Shuwang
Libchaber Albert
Lindner Anke
Manneville Paul
Marchand Antonin
MÈtens StÈphane
Morris Stephen
Nicoli Matteo
Peaucelle Alexis
Pedro Reis Pedro
Pineirua Miguel
Pirat Christophe
Pouliquen Olivier
Pucci Giuseppe
Py Charlotte
Rabaud Marc
Rajchenbach Jean
Reyssat Etienne
Rogers Michael
ROMAN Benoit
Sebilleau julien
Sharon Eran
THIRIA Benjamin
Traas Jan
Tuckerman Laurette
van Hecke Martin
Vandenberghe Nicolas
Yoshikawa Harunori