Organizing Committee

Ingo Rehberg, Matthias Weiss, and Walter Zimmermann

Scope of the seminar

Patterns and self-organization are ubiquitous in nature and materials, and the related research field 'Pattern Formation' is highly interdisciplinary. Constantly further systems with fascinating patterns and spontaneous self-organization processes are discovered in living systems, and in inanimate matter preferentially in driven systems far from equilibrium, including complex fluids, reaction diffusion systems or the booming area of active matter.

The mechanisms driving spatio-temporal patterns or patterns of motion differ from system to system. Their exploration and characterization fascinates and challenges likewise and fosters the communication between researchers in each subfield and beyond, such as in this cross-disciplinary workshop. Patterns may also share common universal properties, which are independent from a specific system. Prominent examples for that are stripe, honeycomb, traveling wave, and localized snaking patterns, which can be described by generic models.

Another common feature is symmetry breaking. Pattern forming systems are naturally of finite size, where geometric constraints and boundary conditions break symmetries, as well as spatial variations of material and system parameters or external fields do. The consecutive occurrence of symmetry breakings might act like switches, as in growing cells. How does this modify the generic multistability and variations of nonlinear patterns? On the other hand, controlled symmetry breakings can provide additional insights about both, the generic properties of patterns as well as about their driving mechanisms in a specific system. Controlled applications of symmetry breaking parameter variations may also lead to new fascinating patterns and collective motions. If self-organized patterns control basic functions in living systems, to what extend do such functions depend on system specific details of a pattern?

The 630th WE-Heraeus Seminar will provide an inspiring platform for exchanging recent insights on these and related issues. It also provides the opportunity to identify and bundle common interests and activities in non-equilibrium pattern formation. Individual and round table discussions for common initiatives are encouraged.

Speakers include

  • Igor Aranson (Argonne, USA)
  • Hugues Chaté (Saclay, France)
  • Bruno Eckhardt (Marburg, Germany)
  • Karsten Kruse (Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Hartmut Löwen (Düsseldorf, Germany)
  • Detlef Lohse (Twente, Netherlands)
  • Ehud Meron (Beer-Sheva, Israel)
  • Chauqui Misbah (Grenoble, France)
  • Alain Pumir (Lyon, France)
  • Francesc Sagues (Barcelona, Spain)


The seminar will start on Sunday, October 9, at 7pm with a welcome dinner at the Frankonian restaurant 'Oskar' (Maximilianstrasse 33).

The 10th Lorenz Kramer Memorial Lecture on 'Synchronization of spatial patterns: a matter of life or death' will be delivered this year by Alain Pumir (Laboratoire de Physique, ENS de Lyon, France) on Tuesday, October 11, in the afternoon. The Department of Physics at the University of Bayreuth recognizes in this way the outstanding contributions of the late Professor Lorenz Kramer to the focus subject "Nonlinear Physics" at Bayreuth (former lectures).

In the evening of Tuesday, we will have a dinner at a restaurant in the center of Bayreuth.

The seminar will end on Wednesday, October 12, at noon.

Posters & Contributed talks

Posters can be put up from Monday morning to Wednesday for extended discussions near the lecture room. A limited number of contributed talks at the WE-Heraeus seminar is possible.


The deadline for registration and abstract submission will be on Sunday, September 18, 2016.


The meeting is generously funded by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation.