Plasma physicists are often fond of remarking that although over 99% of the Universe is a plasma, the subject of plasma physics remained neglected for a long time. There is a parallel of sorts in condensed matter physics: although the noncrystalline state is widely prevalent (especially in the living world), it is the crystalline state that has until now commanded the lion’s share of attention from physicists. The reason is simply the geometric regularity of crystals which makes it relatively easy to analyze their properties. However, one has now begun to get an idea of the rules and logic Nature follows in forming the various noncrystalline states of matter, the crystalline state being a rather special case. The purpose of this volume is to offer a glimpse of some of these recent developments.
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