Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals, Vol.540, 3-11, 2011
Liquid Crystals as Inspirations for Fundamental Physics
Liquid crystals fill the symmetry gap between the highest-symmetry homogenous and isotropic fluid phase and the lowest-symmetry crystalline lattices. As such they are ideal materials to probe fundamental concepts relating symmetry and conservation laws to generalized elastic distortions, broken-symmetry dynamics, and topological defects. This talk reviews how nematic and smectic phases illuminated these concepts.