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Glass: The Cinderella Problem of Condensed Matter Physics

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Amorphous materials (glasses) probably
constitute >90% of the solid matter surrounding us in everyday life,yet
traditional textbooks of condensed matter physics devote virtually no space to
them.Crudely speaking,the puzzles in the behavior of glasses can be divided
into three major areas:the glass transition itself,the characteristic long-term
memory effects and the near-equilibrium thermal,dielectric and transport
properties;this talk focusses entirely on the third area.Over the last 40 years
it has become apparent that the thermal and transport properties are not only
qualitatively universal between glasses with totally different chemistry and
microstructure,but in some cases possess a truly mind-boggling degree of
_quantitative_ universality.In this talk I will describe the salient
experimental data,review the established ("tunnelling two-level
system") model commonly used to interpret them,and introduce a rather
different scenario (developed in collaboration with D.C.Vural) which holds out
some prospect of explaining theĀ 
universalities in a natural way.