Anomalous Thermal Relaxations

In the early 60's, a high school student from Tanzania named Erasto Mpemba discovered that it is faster to freeze hot ice cream mixture, rather than do as he was told by his teacher and use a cold mixture. This story has two parts, both well documented through history: (i) Teachers are commonly wrong, and (ii) Under certain circumstances hot water freezes faster than cold water. The latter was in fact known already to Aristotle, and is now referred to as the Mpemba effect

Although various mechanisms to explain this counter-intuitive phenomenon were suggested, it is not yet clear which mechanism is responsible to the effect under which circumstances, and some even argue that the effect does not exist. In resent years it has been discovered that similar non-monotonic relaxation processes exist in various other systems, for example in magnetic alloys and carbon nano-tube resonators. 

Our group is trying to find fundamental processes in non-equilibrium statistical mechanics that can lead to such anomalous relaxations. Some of our results can be found in the publications below:


A few popular science articles that (try to) explain our works, and related experiments: