Thursday, November 26, 2015

URSP Student David Patrick Studies the Relationship between Information Entropy Production and Power Fluctuations in Driven Systems

I was first exposed to the fields of information theory and non-equilibrium systems while working as a volunteer in Dr. Cressman’s lab.  My work has focused on studying the relationships between information entropy production and power fluctuations in driven systems, specifically within structures in electro-convecting liquid crystal.  The goal of the project is to show that there is a connection between information entropy and thermodynamic entropy.  Preliminary results do show a positive correlation between the two.

I am interested in this particular project because of its widespread potential applications. The ways in which these structures allow energy to flow is not currently well understood, but can potentially shed light on the inner workings of countless natural processes. Many wide ranging phenomenon, including hurricanes, large fluctuations in financial markets, and protein folding and other biological processes follow the same general pattern, for which we hope to develop a quantitative description.

It is also in a challenging and demanding field, which will allow me the opportunity to grow creatively as well as intellectually.  My personal goals include contributing to the scientific understanding of these processes, as well as building analytical skills to prepare for a graduate school application.