About this lecture

What is the size of avalanches on a sliding sandpile? How does an epidemic disease spread? Why do the pores of sandstone exhibit a phase transition in their water permeability? What is known about the physics of a traffic jam? How does beer foam coarsen between two glass plates? Why are asset price fluctuations not always normally distributed?

Such questions are the starting point for studies in the field of Phyiscs of Complex Systems. In this course we will get a first taste what this field is like. We will study a variety of models, learn more about new mathematical and numerical tools, get in touch with non-equilibrium critical phenomena, and we will try to understand the difference between continuous and lattice-based descriptions. The primary aim of this lecture is not to become an expert in one particular corner, instead the focus is on a broad overview based on simple examples. And, most importantly, we want to have a lot of fun with Physics.