Asst. Prof. Serim İlday of UNAM (the National Nanotechnology Research Center) has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant to support her research in the field of condensed matter physics.
Dr. İlday has been granted 1.5 million euros over the next five years to explore the complexity of dynamic adaptive systems. She will be using the EU funds to address a profoundly fundamental question at the interface between condensed matter and statistical physics: “When a dynamic adaptive system is faced with multiple choices, which one will it choose, and why?”
Dr. İlday will investigate this topic using a state-of-the-art colloidal system that she and her co-workers developed in 2017. The system allows for the observation of first dynamic adaptive colloidal crystals with a plethora of complex patterns and behavior. Using the ERC funding, Dr. İlday and her team will draw the “fitness landscape” of these crystals to understand and control emergent phenomena far from equilibrium.
Far-from-equilibrium systems pose a grand challenge, the resolution to which has been hampered so far due to the lack of experimental realization and platforms. Dr. İlday’s project aims to fill this gap and advance the understanding of complex phenomena and control over their dynamics.
ERC grants are widely regarded as the most prestigious research funding in Europe, intended to support outstanding investigators conducting research at the frontiers of science. In the twelve-year history of the ERC grant program, six ERC-funded researchers have won the Nobel Prize. Dr. İlday’s grant is Turkey’s first ERC grant in condensed matter physics, and the eighth ERC grant that has been received by Bilkent University researchers since the start of the program in 2007.