Summary: Physica A 339 (2004) xvxvi
The contemporary science of materials and condensed-matter physics is changing in
response to a new awareness of the relevance of concepts associated with complexity.
Scientists who design and study new materials are confronted by an ever-increasing de-
gree of complexity, both in the materials themselves and in their synthesis. Typically,
modern advanced materials are partially non-crystalline, often multicomponent, and
form out of equilibrium. Further, they have functional and structural properties that
are active over several length-scales, and form via self-assembly. This emerging struc-
tural and functional complexity is intrinsic and necessary to many aspects of modern
materials; features common also to generic complex systems. A central characteristic
of the ’eld is an awareness of the importance of multidisciplinary studies, at theoretical
and experimental levels.
Some of the challenges and achievements of the growing community of physicists,
chemists, chemical physicists/physical chemists and applied mathematicians studying
this topic have been debated at the international conference "New Materials and Com-
plexity" held in Canberra and Kioloa in November, 2003. This special issue contains
contributions that emerged from that conference.
The theme of Materials and Complexity covers a range of topics. Some of those