Speaker: Shern Ren Tee
Affiliation: University of Queensland


From pollen grains two hundred years ago to viral aerosols today, diffusion has shaped both the theoretical foundations of statistical mechanics and practical aspects of everyday life. In this talk I describe the Smoluchowski equation, which accounts for spatially-varying potential energy or diffusivity, and thus supersedes mean-squared displacement for quantifying inhomogeneous diffusion. I show that a maximum likelihood estimator can retrieve underlying diffusivity landscapes from standard molecular dynamics trajectories, with applications to diffusion for water near a vapor-liquid interface and electrolytes near electrodes. Finally, I outline an emerging research direction based on applying Sturm-Liouville theory to the Smoluchowski operator for improved numerical discretization.

About Physics Seminars

The weekly Physics Seminar series focuses on a broad range of physics research within SMP, along with frequent presentations from visiting researchers. Seminars are usually scheduled for 1.00pm on Tuesdays.

The talks are typically more specialised than a colloquium but are often attended by staff and PhD students across a broad range of areas. Speakers are thus encouraged to include introductory material in the talks.

All SMP researchers and HDR students are encouraged to speak. Please email Lewis Williamson to register your interest.

The seminars are open so there is no need to register your attendance.


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