The world around is very complex with an enormous variety in phenomena. How can we ever dream of finding fundamental laws that describe these phenomena and still be comprehensible?

One important ingredient for this is the concept of spontaneous symmetry breaking, whereby the ground-state of the physical system does not show regularities but the underlying fundamental equations do. Understanding the symmetries of the systems often defines the possible fundamental laws which can then be formulated. The solutions where the symmetry is then spontaneously broken can then show great varieties.

This concept occurs in many of the fundamental fields of physics. In particle physics it is the mechanism by which the fundamental particles gain their masses. In cosmology and in statistical physics it triggers the phase transitions which explains why our universe is so homogeneous and how matter can change phases. In condensed matter it explains for example phenomena like magnetism.

This meeting is a tribute to Robert Brout who would have been 90 this year and who gave significant contributions in all these fields. Unfortunately he passed away just a few years before the Nobel Prize was awarded to his long-time collaborator François Englert with whom he shared so many of these results.


Honorary Chair

François Englert
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Nobel Laureate in Physics 2013



Kok-Khoo Phua
Institute of Advanced Studies, NTU

Lars Brink
Chalmers University of Technology

Marc Henneaux
Université Libre de Bruxelles


  SSB Group Photo.jpg


Printer-friendly | Send to a friend