Universality in Self-Organized Criticality

Bonachela Fajardo, Juan Antonio (2008) Universality in Self-Organized Criticality. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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    Abstract

    One of the most fascinating and important phenomena studied by Statistical Physics is the so-called Self-Organized Criticality (SOC). Since Bak, Tang and Wiesenfeld (BTW) coined this term in 1987, more than 30001 articles written in these last 21 years about the topic validate the statement which this thesis starts with. The concept of Self-Organized Criticality was introduced with the ambitious aim of being the explanation of the ubiquity of certain mathematical functions which describe some properties of real systems in Nature. Due to the initial impact of the work of BTW, SOC has been able to go beyond the frontiers, not only of its original discipline (Statistical Physics), but also of Physics itself, being a concept used on articles in Biology, Geology, Neuroscience, Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics and even in Social Sciences like Psychology and Humanities. This burst of works and the broad range of fields in which SOC can be applied have made difficult to find one general and broadly accepted vision about what SOC really is; in fact, there is not a definition of SOC in literature, but (and depending on the discipline used to study it) there are many different definitions, sometimes mutually incompatible, of the term. The aim of this thesis is not to review all the work published about the topic up to date. This thesis tries to cover some general aspects of SOC from the perspective of phase transitions and their associated universal features, and this is what the reader should expect from the book.