School Seminar Program

Self-organization in Chaotic and living fluids

Dr Hua Xia
Centre for Plasmas and Fluids, RSPE, ANU

Systems in thermodynamic equilibrium are known to obey detailed balance, in which transition rates between any two micro-states are pairwise balanced. This means that there can be no net flux of transitions anywhere in the phase space of system states. This principle was identified and used by Ludwig Boltzmann in his pioneering development of statistical mechanics, the microscopic basis for thermodynamics. In contrast, living systems operate far from equilibrium, and molecular-scale violations of detailed balance lie at the heart of their dynamics.  Turbulence is another example of system far from equilibrium, which has shown an amazing ability of self-organization.

In this talk, I will give an introduction of self-organization in non-equilibrium systems, such as in living fluid and turbulence flows.  I will present results in self-organization in turbulent and chaotic flows at macro-scale. Initial results of experiments in bacterial micro-channel will also be presented. A system involving the newly discovered liquid material generated using two orthogonal standing waves will be incorporated to control the bacteria motion and self-organization.

Hua Xia graduated from Chongqing University in Electrical Engineering before working on China’s biggest fusion research facility. She started her PhD project in plasma turbulence at the ANU which developed into a cross-disciplinary study of 2D turbulence. Hua received her PhD degree in 2006. In 2012 she was awarded an ARC DECRA and in 2014 she won an ARC Future Fellowship to further develop her research into transport of matter and energy in chaotic flows and living fluids.

Dr Xia’s research interests broadly fall in the physics of complex systems, 2D turbulence, self-organization, and wave-flow interaction. Highlights of my research are related to (a) accumulation and conversion of the turbulent energy into mean flows, (b) conversion of energy of disordered surface waves into coherent flows; (c) engineering of dynamical metamaterials at the liquid–gas interface; (d) development of efficient methods of controlling and predicting turbulent diffusion on a liquid surface; and (e) studies of living fluids in bacterial turbulence.

Date & time

Thu 20 Jul 2017, 3–4pm



Seminar Room


Members of RSPE welcome