Slow Melting and Fast Crystals

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This talk will focus on the behavior of colloidal crystals, and will describe both the nucleation and growth of crystals and their melting. The nucleation and growth of colloidal crystals is experimentally observed to be much faster than expected theoretically or through simulation. The discrepancy can be as much as 10150! I will describe some new experiments that suggest a possible reason for this. I will also describe the melting of colloidal crystals formed with highly charged particles that form a Wigner lattice. I will show that this melting resembles a second-order phase transition, and follows the prediction of Born for a catastrophic collapse of the elastic constant.