Universality plays a central role within the rubric of modern statistical mechanics, wherein an insightful continuum formulation rises above irrelevant microscopic details, capturing essential scaling behaviors. Nevertheless, occasions do arise where the lattice or another discrete aspect can constitute a formidable legacy. Directed polymers in random media, along with its close sibling, directed percolation, provide an intriguing case in point. Indeed, the deep blood relation between these two models may have sabotaged past efforts to fully characterize the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang universality class, to which the directed polymer belongs.
- Received 20 March 1998
- Published in the issue dated October 1998
© 1998 The American Physical Society