¿The importance of knowledge consists not only in its direct practical utility but also in the fact the it promotes a widely contemplative habit of mind; on this ground, utility is to be found in much of the knowledge that is nowadays labelled ¿useless¿. ¿ Bertrand Russel, In Praise of Idleness, London (1935) ¿Why are scientists in so many cases so deeply interested in their work ? Is it merely because it is useful ? It is only necessary to talk to such scientists to discover that the utilitarian possibilities of their work are generally of secondary interest to them. Something else is primary. ¿ David Bohm, On creativity, Abingdon (1996) In this volume, the dynamical critical behaviour of many-body systems far from equilibrium is discussed. Therefore, the intrinsic properties of the - namics itself, rather than those of the stationary state, are in the focus of 1 interest. Characteristically, far-from-equilibrium systems often display - namical scaling, even if the stationary state is very far from being critical. A 1 As an example of a non-equilibrium phase transition, with striking practical c- sequences, consider the allotropic change of metallic ?-tin to brittle ?-tin. At o equilibrium, the gray ?-Sn becomes more stable than the silvery ?-Sn at 13. 2 C. Kinetically, the transition between these two solid forms of tin is rather slow at higher temperatures. It starts from small islands of ?-Sn, the growth of which proceeds through an auto-catalytic reaction. von Henkel, Malte und Pleimling, Michel
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