ICAM News

ICAM News

Tue, April 11, 2017: International School and Workshop on Electronic Crystals ECRYS-2017


August 21 - September 2, 2017 Location: Institut d’Etudes Scientifiques de Cargèse, Corse, France. Organizers
Serguei Brazovskii CNRS &University Paris-Sud, Orsay, France
Natasha Kirova CNRS & University Paris-Sud, Orsay, France
Sylvain Ravy CNRS & University Paris-Sud, Orsay, France Overview
ECRYS-2017 continues the series of tri-annual conferences ECRYS on Electronic Crystals, which were organized since 1993 in France. The international meeting will host about 100 scientists and PhD students. Each day, the program will integrate the advanced research school and the leading edge scientific conference. The axes of the ECRYS integrate various areas in science of electronic aggregation in solids. Materials: synthetic low-dimensional systems build from transition metals, oxides, chalcogenides, etc; organic conductors; artificial atomic structures, charged patterns in soft- and bio-matters, cold trapped ions; electronic ferroelectrics. Effects: Cooperative electronic states like density waves, charge order and ferroelectricity, Peierls- Mott- and excitonic insulators; formations of patterns, stripes, solitons and their lattices; resulting collective nonlinear and non-stationary effects; states switching and dynamical phase transitions; weak crystallization. Methods: nano-scale studies and manipulations by STM, STS and AFM; MBE- and FIB- fabricated nanostructures; high magnetic and electric fields; femto-second optical quenches and tera-Hertz pulses; time-sliced ARPES, X-ray and electron diffraction. Theory: mathematics of nonlinear and non-stationary processes; analytical and numerical techniques for many-body static and dynamical states. Event website: http://lptms.u-psud.fr/ecrys2017/




Thu, October 13, 2016: Three US-based Physicists Win Physics Nobel for Emergent Topological Matter


Physicists explore exotic states of matter inspired by Nobel-winning research

Nandini Trivedi, The Ohio State University The 2016 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz, three theoretical physicists whose research used the unexpected mathematical lens of topology to investigate phases of matter and the transitions between them. Topology is a branch of mathematics that deals with understanding shapes of objects; it’s interested in “invariants” that don’t change when a shape is deformed, like the number of holes an object has. Physics is the study of matter and its properties. The Nobel Prize winners were the first to make the connection between these two worlds. Everyone is used to the idea that a material can take various familiar forms such as a solid, liquid or gas. But the Nobel Prize recognizes other surprising phases of matter – called topological phases – that the winners proposed theoretically and experimentalists have since explored. Topology is opening up new platforms for observing and understanding these new states of matter in many branches of physics. I work with theoretical aspects of cold atomic gases, a field which has only developed in the years since Thouless, Haldane and Kosterlitz did their groundbreaking theoretical work. Using lasers and atoms to emulate complex materials, cold atom researchers have begun to realize some of the laureates’ predictions – with the promise of much more to come. Cold atoms get us to quantum states of matter All matter is made up of building blocks, such as atoms. When many atoms come together in a material, they start to interact. As the temperature changes, the state of matter starts to change. For instance, water is a liquid until a fixed temperature, when it turns into vapor (373 degrees Kelvin; 212 degrees Fahrenheit; 100 degrees Celsius); and if you cool, solid ice forms at a fixed temperature (273K; 32℉; 0℃). The laws of physics give us a theoretical limit to how low the temperature can get. This lowest possible temperature is called absolute zero (0K) (and equals -460℉ or -273℃). Classical physics governs our everyday world. Classical physics tells us that if we cool atoms to really low temperatures, they stop their normally constant vibrating and come to a standstill. But really, as we cool atoms down to temperatures approaching close to 0K, we leave the regime of classical physics – quantum mechanics begins to govern what we see. In the quantum mechanical world, if an object’s position becomes sharply defined then its momentum becomes highly uncertain, and vice versa. Thus, if we cool atoms down, the momentum of each atom decreases, and the quantum uncertainty of its position grows. Instead of being able to pinpoint where each atom is, we can now only see a blurry space somewhere within which the atom must be. At some point, the neighboring uncertain positions of nearby atoms start overlapping and the atoms lose their individual identities. Surprisingly, the distinct atoms become a single entity, and behave as one coherent unit – a discovery that won a previous Nobel. This new, amazing way atoms organize themselves at very low temperatures results in new properties of matter; it’s no longer a classical solid in which the atoms occupy periodic well-defined positions, like eggs in a carton. Instead, the material is now in a new quantum state of matter in which each atom has become a wave with its position no longer identifiable. And yet the atoms are not moving around chaotically. Instead, they are highly coherent, with a new kind of quantum order. Just like laser beams, the coherent matter waves of superfluids, superconductors and magnets can produce interference patterns. Physicists have known about quantum order in superfluids and magnets in three dimensions since the middle of the last century. We understand that the order is lost at a critical temperature due to thermal fluctuations. But in two dimensions the situation is different. Early theoretical work showed that thermal fluctuations would destroy the quantum order even at very low temperatures. What Thouless, Haldane and Kosterlitz addressed were two important questions: What is the nature of the quantum ordered state of superfluids, superconductors and magnets in low dimensions? What is the nature of the phase transition from the ordered to the disordered state in two dimensions? Thinking about defects Kosterlitz and Thouless’s innovation was to show that topological defects – vortex and anti-vortex whirls and swirls – are crucial to understand the magnetic and superfluid states of matter in two dimensions. These defects are not just local perturbations in the quantum order; they produce a winding or circulation as one goes around it. The vorticity, which measures how many times one winds around, is measured in integer units of the circulation. Kosterlitz and Thouless showed that at low temperatures, a vortex is bound up with an anti-vortex so the order survives. As the temperature increases, these defects unbind and grow in number and that drives a transition from an ordered to a disordered state. It’s been possible to visualize the vortices in cold atomic gases that Kosterlitz and Thouless originally proposed, bringing to life the topological defects they theoretically proposed. In my own research, we’ve been able to extend these ideas to quantum phase transitions driven by increasing interactions between the atoms rather than by temperature fluctuations. The second part of the Nobel Prize went to Thouless and Haldane for discovering new topological states of matter and for showing how to describe them in terms of topological invariants. Physicists knew about the existence of a phenomenon called the quantum Hall effect, first observed in two dimensional electrons in semiconductors. The Hall conductance, which is the ratio of the transverse voltage and the current, was observed to change in very precise integer steps as the magnetic field was increased. This was puzzling because real materials are disordered and messy. How could something so precise be seen in experiments? It turns out that the current flows only in narrow channels at the edges and not within the bulk of the material. The number of channels is controlled by the magnetic field. Every time an additional channel or lane gets added to the highway, the conductance increase by a very precise integer step, with a precision of one part in billion. Thouless’ insight was to show that the flow of electrons at the boundaries has a topological character: the flow is not perturbed by defects – the current just bends around them and continues with its onward flow. This is similar to strong water flow in a river that bends around boulders.
Topology is interested in properties that change step-wise, like the number of holes in these
objects. Topology also explains why electrical conductivity inside thin layers changes in integer steps.
Copyright © Johan Jarnestad/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Thouless figured out that here was a new kind of order, represented by a topological index that counts the number of edge states at the boundary. That’s just like how the number of holes (zero in a sphere, one in a doughnut, two in glasses, three in a pretzel) define the topology of a shape and the robustness of the shape so long as it is deformed smoothly and the number of holes remains unchanged. Global, not local, properties Interacting topological states are even more remarkable and truly bizarre in that they harbor fractionalized excitations. We’re used to thinking of an electron, for instance, with its charge of e as being indivisible. But, in the presence of strong interactions, as in the fractional quantum Hall experiments, the electron indeed fractionalizes into three pieces each carrying a third of a charge! Haldane discovered a whole new paradigm: in a chain of spins with one unit of magnetic moment, the edge spins are fractionalized into units of one-half. Remarkably, the global topological properties of the chain completely determine the unusual behavior at the edges. Haldane’s remarkable predictions have been verified by experiments on solid state materials containing one-dimensional chains of magnetic ions. Topological states are new additions to the list of phases of matter, such as, solid, liquid, gas, and even superfluids, superconductors and magnets. The laureates’ ideas have opened the floodgates for prizeworthy predictions and observations of topological insulators and topological superconductors. The cold atomic gases present opportunities beyond what can be achieved in materials because of the greater variety of atomic spin states and highly tunable interactions. Beyond the rewards of untangling fascinating aspects of our physical world, this research opens the possibility of using topologically protected states for quantum computing. Nandini Trivedi, Professor of Physics, The Ohio State University This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.




Thu, July 14, 2016: Introducing ICAM’s Latest Research Exchange Award Program: QuantEmX Awards


This is an era of extraordinary promise for research into quantum materials. The discovery of entirely new classes of materials including high temperature superconductors, topological insulators, multiferroics, strange metals and states of hidden order reflect a new realization that quantum materials are emergent, developing new and wholly unexpected properties associated with the collective quantum behavior of electrons and atoms. These new discoveries, combined with new theoretical insights and unprecedented improvements in our ability to synthesize at the atomic scale and to spectroscopically probe quantum materials, often under extreme conditions of pressure, temperature and field, make the study of emergent quantum materials a 21st century frontier for discovery and bold new applications. Because of the complexity and scope of emergent phenomena, it is critically important that different groups collaborate to advance our understanding and accelerate the development of these materials. With this in mind, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter announce the QuantEmX (Quantum Emergence Exchange) Awards to foster new collaborations that further our understanding of emergent quantum phenomena in novel materials. The majority of these awards are for experimental research, but some support for outstanding theoretical research efforts will be considered. Both the Moore Foundation, through its Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems (EPiQS) and the Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter have interests in phenomena that include topological insulators, novel superconductors, two-dimensional quantum matter, interfacial quantum matter, frustrated magnets, and materials/devices for quantum information technology. Each year we will provide • Short travel awards for EPiQS/ICAM junior or senior scientists to carry out short (2-3 week) research visits to other EPiQS/ICAM labs or suitable research facilities (such as light sources, neutron scattering labs, or high field magnet labs).
• Longer term (6-8 weeks) awards for EPiQS/ICAM junior or senior scientists to initiate new research with other EPiQS/ICAM labs.

Applications will be reviewed on a quarterly basis until filled each year. For 2016-17, the application deadlines will be Sept 1, 2016, Dec 1, 2016, March 1, 2017, and June 1, 2017. Applications will be reviewed by the QuantEmX steering committee, which will include ICAM Leaders Piers Coleman [Rutgers], Daniel Cox [UC Davis], Rajiv Singh [UC Davis], and Khandker Quader [Kent State], EPiQS Researchers Dmitri Basov [Columbia], Colin Broholm [Johns Hopkins], Jak Chakalian [Rutgers], Sang Cheong [Rutgers], and Emilia Morosan [Rice], as well as Laura Greene [Florida State/NHMFL]. Applications will be online, available beginning Aug. 1, 2016, at http://icam-i2cam.org/index.php/QuantEmX, and will require a brief proposal, short CV, a short budget, and appropriate letters of support from applicants/hosts. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation established the Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems (EPiQS) program in 2014 to promote greater understanding of complex quantum systems. The Moore Foundation fosters path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements and preservation of the special character of the Bay Area. Visit Moore.org or follow @MooreFound. ICAM, the Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter, centered at the University of California, Davis, is a global network of research institutions, including many national labs, with an interest in emergent phenomena in quantum matter.




Thu, February 18, 2016: Assistant Professor Elad Harel recipient 2016 PECASE award


Congratulations to Elad Harel of Northwestern University for being awarded the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. The PECASE award is the highest honor given by the U. S. government to outstanding early-career engineers and scientists. It identifies and honors the finest federal researchers who are beginning their independent research careers and who show exceptional potential for leadership in the future.




Mon, October 19, 2015: RIP Suzy Pines


It is with great sadness that we let the ICAM community know about the passing of Suzy Pines, David’s wife, after an extended and courageous struggle with cancer. Suzy and David were constants in each other lives from their student days in Berkeley, and Suzy was well known to the ICAM community as a constant attendee to our meetings with David as well as a brilliant psychologist and warm friend to many. We will miss her greatly, and we wish for the best for David and his family going forward. To help remember Suzy, here is a clip of her from the celebration of David’s 90th birthday held at the University of Illinois last year.




Mon, October 05, 2015: Professor David Pines awarded the 2016 Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize


Congratulations to David Pines for winning the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize. The prize is awarded to the individual for the most outstanding contributions to physics.




Thu, August 06, 2015: Eshel Ben-Jacob, 1952-2015


Eshel was a terrific scientist and wonderful person. He was innovative in his approach to science, and broad in his interests, which ranged over the years from snowflakes to Josephson junctions to bacterial colonies to glial cells to the physics of cancer. Eshel was instrumental in connecting Israel to ICAM, through a consortium branch of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute for Science. Eshel was a key figure in the history of the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, both in its initial inception at UC San Diego and in its move to Rice University. Eshel served as a co-mentor for the exchange award of Vladisov Volman, who later became a staff scientist at the Salk Institute in La Jolla. For those of us who knew Eshel, we will miss his extraordinary creativity, omnipresent smile, and boundless enthusiasm for science. We mourn his loss deeply.




Mon, August 03, 2015: Itinerant Frustration Workshop Successful


The successful ICAM workshop, Itinerant Frustration, took place at Trinity College, Cambridge University from July 20-22, 2015. Thirty-three participants were involved in the 3-day meeting aimed at stimulating focused discussions between theorists and experimentalists through overview presentations, short topical seminars and chaired discussion time. The overview talks were given by C. Batista, C. Broholm, Z. Hiroi and Y. Motome, on topics including phenomenology and theoretical modelling in heavy fermion and Anderson/Kondo lattice systems, anomalous Hall physics, materials, phenomenology, and experimental techniques, and frustrated magnetism with mobile defects. The meeting was able to successfully bring together two communities, working on electron systems and on frustrated magnetism, in order to explore the rich interface provided by materials where both phenomena are simultaneously present. Several discussions leading into small groups took place during the meeting, which several potential avenues for research collaboration were explored. This is a young and burgeoning field, and the meeting helped define key questions and challenges that will need to be addressed.
A website for the event can be found here: http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/awgif/




Thu, April 30, 2015: Ivan Smalyukh has won the Bessel award from the Humboldt foundation


Associate Professor Ivan Smalyukh (Department of Physics) was presented an award in Bamberg, Germany on behalf of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for his work in polymer physics. More information can be found in the following links: http://www.humboldt-foundation.de/pls/web/pub_auswahlergebnisse.main
http://mse.colorado.edu/smalyukh-presented-award-by-alexander-von-humboldt-foundation/




Mon, February 02, 2015: Hilary Noad discusses ICAM and Research Inspiration


Hilary Noad, graduate student at Stanford University, discusses the role of ICAM in promoting student growth.
This interview can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf_fIEvVCbQ




Mon, February 02, 2015: Dr. Laura Greene discusses education and engagement


Dr. Laura Greene discusses A Global Partnership Promoting Science Education Through Engagement (GSEE).
This interview can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqog5xGMxCg GSEE was conceived during the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Institute for Complex Matter [ICAM] at the University of Cambridge. This ICAM-initiated global science initiative is an experiment in science education—to see whether by sharing information and working together on major initiatives, a group of leading educational institutions, scientific societies, science museums, corporations, and individuals can accomplish far more than they can by working separately. Its goals are to inspire more working scientists to become engaged in informal science education at every stage in their careers, and to give them the tools and guidance to do so effectively. During the past year, the number of GSEE Founding Partners has expanded significantly, with the AAAS, the American Association of Physics Teachers, American Institute of Physics, Argonne National Laboratory, the National Academy of Sciences, the Field Museum, the Koshland Museum, Northwestern University, MIT, and Fermilab joining ICAM and seventeen ICAM branches in becoming Founding Partners. For more information see: http://icam-i2cam.org/index.php/outreach/gsee




Mon, March 24, 2014: The Seventh I2CAM/FAPERJ School Promises Groundbreaking Research in Soft Matter


The seventh I2CAM/FAPERJ school with focus on Soft Matter was held in Rio de Janeiro, April 20-26, 2014. The conference is co-funded by ICAM, FAPERJ, CAPES, CNPq and was hosted by the CBPF, in Rio de Janeiro. At the I2CAM/FAPERJ school there are four talks per day, each of which will be one hour long with 30 minutes of discussion. Additionally, on Wednesday April 24th there was a poster session for students. Approximately 40 students attended the conference. Prior to the conference, I sat down with one of the lead organizers, Dr. Mark Bowick from Syracuse University, to discuss the exciting talks scheduled during the conference.
VK: Can you tell me about the variety of research that will be presented at the conference? Mark Bowick: There is much variety. The conference is about soft structures. Some talks are about equilibrium structures. But most of the talks are about active systems. What differentiates active systems from equilibrium structures is…non-equilibrium [Mark gives a chuckle]. VK: What kind of non-equilibrium? MB: Non-equlibrium comes in many different kinds. The usual ones we learn about are the ones where you drive a system from the outside—for example, a force of some kind—usually at the boundary of the system. But the active systems that we will discuss at the conference are driven at the local level, and usually the system is driving itself. From this we can get the formation of structures as well as dynamic behavior. VK: Can you give us an example of some of these locally-driven active systems? MB: Cristina Marchetti’s talk is about an active systems that applies to experiments going on at the moment. VK: Can you tell us a bit about Marchetti’s work? MB: Marchetti’s group works with active systems in biofilaments. In biofilaments we have actin molecules that are kind of like a long rod. You take cross-linking proteins, and you make a bundle—like a bundle of spaghetti. The bundle itself is like a liquid crystal molecule. These bundles can be coupled to molecular motors, which can make the bundles flow. Now you have liquid crystals that are burning energy, moving around, bending and twisting. VK: So the next step is to categorize the motion? MB: That’s right. Scientists are trying to learn the analog of the phase diagram. We hope to find steady states—patterns that last for a long time. VK: Has there been success in finding the states? MB: Initial success. You get turbulent states and oscillating bands where the molecules are all lined up in one direction in the band and different directions in the neighboring band. But we have to find out more. This is where the experimental aspect is important. VK: So at the conference, theoretically-focused talks will have corresponding experimental talks? MB: Yes. For example, the talk by Zvonimir Dogic is about the experimental aspect of active liquid crystals. VK: So from Marchetti’s and Dogic’s research we discover that there are liquid crystals that can metabolize energy. This seems very exciting. What do you think is significant about this research? MB: The larger picture is that you’re trying to characterize what it means to be living. We can recognize it when we see it; but we don’t actually know the possibilities of living systems. For example, how do we characterize a system that is a little bit turbulent, or one that has regions of order? How far away are they from passive systems? Additionally, do these systems that we build in vitro (e.g. with liquid crystals) have mechanisms similar to the complex systems we see in the cell? Really interesting things are being discovered, but we’re still in the dark. VK: What other novel discoveries can we expect to hear about? MB: There’s something very interesting about the defects in liquid crystals. If it’s a 3-D liquid crystal you have lines of disordered phase stuck in the ordered bulk—small regions or tracks of high-temperature phase. These are liquid crystals. There are defects and there are anti-defects. These are like neutrons and positrons. VK: Do they behave like particles? MB: This is where it gets interesting: Normally a particle will attract an anti-particle and they annihilate. We expect that the defect will attract the anti-defect and the defect would annihilate. What we found is that we can actually have a defect repel an anti-defect. This behavior contradicts what we have learned from equilibrium systems, where same sign defects repel while opposite sign defects attract. VK: If the defect-anti-defect pairs don’t annihilate but repel, what happens to the system? MB: Dogic’s group observed that the repulsion of defect-anti-defect pairs can result in defect proliferation and a state of never ending self-sustained flows. This is exciting because a steady state has a certain population of defects that you don’t find in a passive state. Maybe those defects can be exploited for things like technological devices. They’re very distinctive markers of the system, and we want to find out more about them. VK: What else can we expect from the conference? MB: Jerome Bibette will talk about bacteria that evolves when it is subject to mechanical stress. VK: So kind of like mutator mechanisms? MB: Yes, it’s an example of how evolutionary process is driven by interaction with the environment. This is very relevant for cancer research. VK: So, there will be talks that will make us question how we characterize living systems; and talks that make us question how living systems like microorganisms work. Are there talks about things that don’t appear to be living systems, but behave as though they are? MB: Paul Chaikin and Denis Bartolo will give talks about colloids. You can think of a colloid as a tennis ball. You can put something on it—something that will undergo a chemical reaction when exposed to light. When exposed to light these things start to move, just like bacteria or birds. They assemble into structures. The physical mechanism is fascinating. In each of these examples, the emergent behavior is starting at the local level, and produces behavior that is relevantly similar to living behavior. We can expect many rich descriptions and visuals of locally-driven active systems at the conference. For example, William Irvine will present research on vortices in fluids that link up to compose knots. This is a visually-elegant presentation of knotted fluids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCA0VIExVhg . This is just some of the exciting research that we expect at the seventh I2CAM/FAPERJ school, starting April 20th. To register for this event, please complete the registration form here: http://tinyurl.com/mjx6jqw (The Registration Deadline is March 31, 2014). For more information about the 7th FAPERJ School, please visit the 7th FAPERJ School website here: http://tinyurl.com/lea4u2b .




Wed, March 12, 2014: ICAM Member Suchitra Sebastian talks about Materials and Superconductors at Google X


Suchitra Sebastian, from the ICAM node at Cambridge, gave a talk at Google X’s “Solve for X” summit held at the Google Campus in Cordevall in February. Entrepreneurs and scientists from around the world gathered at Google’s annual summit to discuss invited ‘moonshot proposals’. These are radical ideas for how groundbreaking technology can solve global problems. Her talk, about the great potential of materials, particularly superconductors, was presented alongside media luminaries such as Ira Glass. As part of the demonstration, Suchitra used a levitating train demonstration supported by ICAM, which we plan to use at several future outreach events. One idea is to use demonstrations like this to link up with entrepreneurs and foundations, to encourage their support of emergent materials research. Plans are afoot to hold one such event in London this summer. Suchitra’s Google X talk can be viewed at the link below. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2014/02/solve-for-x-2014-celebrating-and.html https://www.solveforx.com/moonshots/suchitra-sebastian-a-new-generation-of-superconductors




Thu, March 06, 2014: Register for the 7th FAPERJ School: The dynamics and assembly of soft structures!


The seventh I2CAM/FAPERJ school with focus on Soft Matter will be held in Rio de Janeiro, April 20-26, 2014. The conference is co-funded by ICAM, FAPERJ, CAPES, CNPq and will be hosted by the CBPF, in Rio de Janeiro. To register for this event, please complete the registration form. Registration Deadline: March 27, 2014 For more information about the 7th FAPERJ School, please visit the 7th FAPERJ School Website.




Tue, February 25, 2014: “Science and Sustainability” Colloquium Lecture Videos Available for Viewing


The University of Michigan Energy Institute and the Center for the Study of Complex Systems hosted the Science of Sustainability Colloquium in February, where the U-M Community was invited to hear three distinguished speakers address sustainability from the viewpoints of economics, physics, and coupled social-ecological systems. List of Talks Introduction- James Allen, Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter, and Mark Barteau, Director, Energy Institute
The physics of sustainability- Peter Littlewood, Argonne National Laboratory & University of Chicago
Feedback systems and sustainability: robustness-fragility trade-offs in coupled social-ecological systems- J. Marty Anderies, Arizona State University
Economics and sustainability: the energy case- John Byrne, University of Delaware




Fri, January 24, 2014: The Global Partnership for Science Education through Engagement (GSEE) Builds Momentum


Since we last spoke with David Pines, Chief Evangelist at ICAM and co-chair of GSEE Executive Committee, the Global Partnership for Science Education through Engagement has gained considerable momentum. GSEE was conceived during the 2009 Annual ICAM Meeting at the University of Cambridge and has become a well-designed and heavily supported experiment in science education. It began under the auspices of ICAM, and, since then, nineteen ICAM branches became GSEE Founding Partners through their active programs in science education. Within the past year GSEE has expanded its partners significantly to include 33 institutions. The initial spokes outside of the U.S. are GSEE Japan, with hubs at the Tokyo University of Science and Kyoto University, and The Science Academy [Istanbul]. A current list of its Founding Partners and a brief description of its initial activities can be found at http://icam-i2cam.org/index.php/outreach/gsee/
I discuss the GSEE’s progress as well as the Founding Summit for GSEE/Asia with David Pines.
VK: What has been responsible for GSEE’s strides? DP: GSEE owes its existence to ICAM. As an educational counterpart to ICAM’s research network, it has taken off with the Chicago Summit in May 2013, followed by the Kyoto Summit in October 2013. VK: Can you tell me a bit about what happened at the Chicago Summit? DP: We began to organize a citywide and statewide group of engaged scientists and educators. Then we formed two working groups on key issues. One was the Working Group on Grand Challenges in Engagement, which was co-chaired by Martin Storksdieck, who is the director of the Board on Science Education at National Academies. The second working group focused on starting a journal, Experiments in Engagement. This is led by Philip Hamper, Associate Vice President with the American Institute of Physics. At the most recent meeting in January the committee explored the role of the National Academy of Sciences in managing the GSEE’s Experiments in Engagement. VK: What will Experiments in Engagement consist of? DP: It will be a journal: a place for all of the scientists who have successfully engaged in education to communicate their results. It is a first step in turning engagement into a science. VK: What do you think the necessary steps are for the science of engagement? DP: The initial steps are that you have to have a community; and the community has to have a way to communicate with one another so that they can build on their experiments. The journal will serve as a past, present, and future for the science of engagement. VK: This is a bridge between scientists and science educators. DP: That’s right. It is supposed to help engaged scientists communicate and collaborate with one another and with formal and informal science educators across traditional boundaries. VK: It seems like what’s pushing GSEE across boundaries is a need for science education. DP: Yes. The need for science education is global. An engagement community is a global phenomenon, although it does have local hubs that take into account local educational environments. VK: Speaking of global engagement, what is the biggest thing that came out of GSEE/Kyoto? DP: It was establishing GSEE/Japan as a regional GSEE consortium. On Oct.20-23, 2013 Forty-six engaged participants from Japan, China, Korea, the US, France, and Turkey met for 2 ½ days to establish GSEE/Japan as a regional GSEE consortium with offices in Kyoto and Tokyo. They exchanged information on their experiments in engagement and initiated work on developing pilot projects for regional consortia including new joint experiments and an engagement registry that will begin with entries by Summit participants.


VK: Looking through the structure of GSEE/Japan (http://www.kier.kyoto-u.ac.jp/GSEE_Kyoto/Members.html ) it is clear that the list contains very bright scientists and educators. Is this one of the
reasons why GSEE is able to collaborate so efficiently? DP: Yes. The coordination between the people is essential. GSEE strives to collaborate with the best and brightest in their field. For example, the head of GSEE/Kyoto is Akito Arima who has been, President of the University of Tokyo, Minister of Education and Minister of Science and Technology. He is the go-to person for anything related to science education in Japan. VK: The development of GSEE/Japan seems to be in good hands. What can we look forward to as GSEE develops around the world? DP: In 2014 we can look forward to: A proposed series of GSEE/US regional workshops in California, the Rocky Mountain region, and the East Coast; A proposed Founding Summit for GSEE/China: A proposed Founding Summit for GSEE/Europe (GSEE/Cambridge) and one or more national consortia [e.g., GSEE/Britain, GSEE/France, GSEE/Germany]. VK: What I think is so important about GSEE is not just the acceleration of development, but the practical approach to science education. Given what is going on with climate change, the need for science education is riding on robust consequences. What is GSEE’s primary approach when it comes to an issue like climate change? DP: The primary and most important thing is improvements in global science literacy. We need the public to understand how to navigate simple facts. VK: What do you think is producing science illiteracy? DP: Discomfort with the content of science and mathematics. VK: How early does this discomfort start; and, what can we do about it at the early stages? DP: It starts as early as language starts. Something that I thought of in GSEE/Kyoto was Headstart Science, which would help train nursery school teachers to encourage the scientist that exists in every kid. VK: Is this an initiative to maintain curiosity? DP: Exactly, it’s an initiative to support the curiosity. Every kid starts off as a scientist. But then the thing that happens is that they ask questions that the people around them can’t answer. The sense of curiosity fades because it isn’t fueled. VK: How could you make the concept of emergence simple enough for the Headstart Science Program? DP: Simple: To teach kids that they live within a universe where the problems do not have a simple cause and a simple solution.
Many thanks to David Pines for his continued role as Chief Evangelist for ICAM as well as his dedication to the science of engagement.




Tue, April 17, 2018: I2CAM school at Cargèse, France (7-17 August) on Mechanics & Physics of solids


August 7-17, 2018 Location: Cargese in Corsica, France Overview
The aim of the international Summer School on «MEchanics and Physics of STretchable Objects (MEPHiSTO)» is to provide PhD students and researchers with a new wider point of view in research by a series of lectures
given by the best international specialists in the emerging domains at the interface between mechanics and physics: material failure, non-linear mechanics and instabilities, complex and network multi-scale materials.
Together with the recent development of enhanced experimental techniques, with the large strain rheology, with the extreme advances in simulations at both atomistic and continuum lengthscales, the modeling of the properties of soft complex materials by methods of physical mechanics has lead to huge advances in the understanding of the relationship between their microstructures and their complex mechanical properties, as well as in the development of new materials with improved mechanical properties and functionalities, such as tough hydrogels, artificial tissues, soft robots, artificial muscles or transparent ionically conducting materials, metamaterials. Please register directly on the IESC Cargese website: 1. First create an account on the IESC Cargese website. You will receive a password.
2. Fill the pre-registration information here again and submit a poster to the poster-session (not mandatory)
DEADLINE for registration is 15th of april 2018. For more information, please click here.




Sun, May 13th, 2018: David Pines: Insightful and Influential Physicist


New York Times published an article remembering David Pines.
Please click here to read




Thu, April 26, 2018: Annual Conference 2019


August 7-17, 2018 Save the date! The Annual conference will be held 14th-16th January, 2019 at HsinChu City, Taiwan. The conference will be followed by a Frontier Workshop on Strongly Corelated and Topological Physics from January 16th-18th, 2019. Please check back here for more details soon!




Fri, May 4th, 2018: RIP David Pines


ICAM Reports with great sadness, the death of ICAM’s visionary founding member, David Pines, who died in Urbana Champaign, Thursday May 3rd. David’s wishes to us all is to “Think like a Scientist”, and no doubt, to “go for it”. ICAM and all his friends greatly miss him, remembering him for his profound science, his kindness and his relentless optimism and boundless energy. David Pines at the ICAM annual meeting in Rio de Janeiro




Fri, May 11th, 2018: In Memoriam: David Pines


Santa Fe Institute published an article remembering David Pines.
Please click here to read




August 5-17, 2019: ICAM Cargese School


Emergent Phenomena in Correlated Quantum Matter — Summer School For more information, please visit: http://www.epicqur2019.u-psud.fr/




Fri, November 15, 2019: ICAM Announces 12 New Nodes in China


ICAM ANNOUNCES 12 NEW ICAM NODES IN CHINA. ICAM is delighted to announce the membership of 12 new members to our ICAM-China branches, which brings the Chinese membership of ICAM to 19. The new nodes are:

  1. University of Sciences & Technology of China
  2. Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  3. Nanjing University
  4. Soochow University
  5. South University of Science & Technology of China
  6. Xiamen University
  7. ShanghaiTech University
  8. The University of Hong Kong
  9. Hong Kong University of Sciences & Technology
  10. Renmin University of China
  11. Beijing Computational Science Research Center
  12. South Bay Interdisciplinary Science Center, Songshan Lake Materials Laboratory
These new nodes will join the 7 founding ICAM-China nodes
  1. Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  2. Peking University
  3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  4. Tsinghua University
  5. Fudan University
  6. Zhejiang University
  7. Institute of Theoretical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences,
ICAM's new activities in China are supported by a Joint Research program grant from the NSF-C, providing funds for three exciting years of workshop, school and science exchange activities of ICAM-I2CAM with China. Part of the planned activities will involve workshops/schools at the South Bay Interdisciplinary Science Center on SongShan Lake, Guangdong province, just 40 miles north of Hong Kong. We will also have funds for short-term science exchanges to China from across the ICAM network. We expect to be announcing these events in more detail in the coming months. We are looking forward to a lot of exciting new science on e frontiers of emergence in quantum, soft and biological matter. Watch this space for further news.




Wed, May 20, 2020: Looking Back at 2019 ICAM Meetings


In these days at home, let's take a look back at last year's ICAM meetings from abroad. Please view our latest newsletter, where we reminisce about a time when the physics community came together from all over the world at the annual Condensed Matter in the Cities!




Wed, September 3, 2020: ICAM Remembers Stephen Berry


R. Stephen Berry, University of Chicago chemist, path-breaking interdisciplinary scientist and founding ICAM member, died July 26 age 89. Berry, a chemist by profession, was a pioneer of complex adaptive matter, and his theoretical work ranged far and wide across science, from his early work in sustainable energy to his work on finite-time thermodynamics: he believed deeply in the interdisciplinary frontier of science. Steve Berry was a co-founder of the Telluride Science Research Center. He had a long involvement with the Aspen Center for Physics. Berry became an enthusiastic supporter of ICAM from its founding meeting in 1999, and we knew him for his enthusiasm for science, linking the frontiers of physics, chemistry and biology. “He wanted scientists to not just remain in ivory towers, but to change the world,” said Carla Friedman Berry, his wife of 65 years, [1] “For him, science was an instrument to better the world”. ICAM honored him on the occasion of his 80th birthday at its annual meeting in Hangzhou, 2011. Stephen was a tireless contributor to the ICAM Science Steering Committee and participated in our 2020 annual meeting, literally days before his passing. We miss him dearly and remember him fondly. [1] https://news.uchicago.edu/story/r-stephen-berry-one-most-influential-chemists-his-generation-1931-2020 Steve Berry, cutting the cake on the occasion of his 80th birthday, in Hangzhou, China, April 2011. Steve Berry, cutting the cake on the occasion of his 80th birthday, in Hangzhou, China, April 2011.




Sun, July 26, 2020: R. Stephen Berry Passes Away at Age 89


With great sadness, ICAM reports the passing of Stephen Berry — a visonary, interdisciplinary scientist and beloved ICAM member. For more on his life, visit the following articles: