Non-equilibrium processes touch our daily lives in many ways, through crashing financial systems and the physical shudders of earthquakes to the spread of disease outbreaks and the control of wildfires and pollution. But non-equilibrium is not in itself bad: life is out of equilibrium all of the time. And if we can understand non-equilibrium processes like the biological one that takes a cell in our body from a healthy state to one that is diseased or even cancerous, we can design better targeted medical treatments. The same goes for technological innovation: the better we can understand non-equilibrium phenomena such as the conversion of light to electrical energy in solar cells, the more able we will be to maximise the efficiency of materials.
A world away from equilibrium offers insights into how current research might shape and affect the next generation of technological, medical and environmental applications of non-equilibrium science, and the challenges it presents. Using a number of short videos and interactive simulations of non-equilibrium systems, this cross-media installation presents a vision for how progress in non-equilibrium systems research can take us close to a Utopian future.