Solving Climate Change and Social Inequities with Statistical Physics Tools

Solutions to two of today’s greatest challenges—climate change and social inequity—may come from the smallest of scales.

In this webinar, we explain how statistical physics tools can help predict and mitigate increasingly devastating natural hazards, such as floods, fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

While first developed to study phase transitions in materials, statistical physics tools can now be deployed at a far greater scale: by discretizing characteristics of the built environment (streets, homes, structural members, and even materials) and analyzing them within the context of a broader ensemble (a region, city, or structure) they can provide new insights into hazard resilience.

The statistical physics approach developed at CSHub is computationally efficient yet broadly applicable. It can capture unanticipated wind load magnifications across regions, rapidly generate urban flood maps, and predict how structural and non-structural members contribute to the overall hazard resilience of structures. Crucially, it can also bridge these many scales to capture inequities in resilience across hazard-prone areas.

Today’s crises of climate change and inequity have become increasingly entwined. This necessitates the development of novel approaches that consider both issues simultaneously. We believe statistical physics could be key in this endeavor.


This webinar will be presented by CSHub Faculty Director Dr. Franz-Josef Ulm.


The MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) webinar series offers information of general interest to members of the building, paving, and construction communities, as well as to educators, students, journalists, and law and policy-makers interested in the environmental and economic impacts of decision-making concerning infrastructure. Videos of all of our recent webinars are posted to our YouTube channel and a schedule of upcoming webinars is posted to our website.