Mathematics in Nanoscale Science and Engineering

IPAM Fall 2002

September 16 - December 13, 2002

Organizing Committee

Russel Caflisch (Department of Mathematics, UCLA)
James Heath (Department of Chemistry, UCLA)
Mitchell Luskin (School of Mathematics, University of Minnesota)
Antonio Redondo (Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory)
Peter Shor (AT&T Labs-Research)

Core Participants

Go to Calendar

Local Seminars and Events

Senior Core Participants

Andrea Bertozzi (Duke University)
Achi Brandt (Weizmann Institute, Israel)
Russel Caflisch (UCLA)
Tom Chou (UCLA)
Irene Gamba
(University of Texas, Austin)
Mitchel Luskin (University of Minnesota)
Vwani Roychowdhury (UCLA)
Peter Smereka (University of Michigan)

Other Senior Participants Coming for an Extended Period

David Adams (University of Kentucky)
Dov Bai (Weizmann Institute, Israel)
Roger Lake (UC Riverside)
Peter Markowich (University of Vienna)
Qing Nie (UCI)
Petr Plechac (University of Warwick)
Dorit Ron Blajwajs (Weizmann Institute)



The long-term program will involve a community of senior and junior researchers. The intent is for long-term participants to have an opportunity to learn about nanoscale systems from the perspectives of many different fields--mathematics, science and engineering--and to meet a diverse group of people and have an opportunity to form new collaborations. In addition to these activities, there will be opening tutorials, four workshops, and a culminating workshop at Lake Arrowhead.

Full and partial support for long-term participants is available, and those interested are encouraged to fill out an online application at the bottom of this page. Support for individual workshops is also available, and may be applied for through the online application for each workshop. We are especially interested in applicants who are interested in becoming core participants and participating in the entire program (September 16 - December 13, 2002), but give due consideration to applications for shorter periods. Funding for participants is available at all academic levels, though recent PhD's, graduate students, and researchers in the early stages of their career are especially encouraged to apply.

Encouraging the careers of women and minority mathematicians and scientists is an important component of IPAM's mission and we welcome their applications.


There will be an active program of research activities, seminars and workshops throughout the September 16-December 13 period. The program will open with tutorials, and will be punctuated by 4 major workshops and a culminating workshop at UCLA’s Lake Arrowhead Conference Center. Several distinguished senior researchers will be in residence for the entire period. Between the workshops there will be a program of activities involving the long-term and short-term participants, as well as visitors. These activities will include:

  • Weekly Seminars During Program, which will include
    • Multi-scale modeling and simulation methods
    • Mathematical opportunities in nanoscale science and engineering
  • Course on multi-scale numerical methods taught by Achi Brandt (Weizmann Institute): course description
  • Participants’ Seminar - a series of talks by the program participants
  • Micro-workshops organized around the interests of the organizers and participants: So far there are plans for seminars on
    • Micro-fluidics
    • Mathematics of self-assembled structures
  • Related workshops:

An online application for funding to be a long-term participant is available at the bottom of this webpage.

Scientific Focus:

Systems at the nanoscale are distinguished by both their material structures and their physics. The nanoscale is the intermediate length scale between systems of a few atoms and continuum systems. Nanoscale systems involve a number of atoms that is large enough so that a direct description of every atom is quite complex, but small enough that a continuum description is not valid. Second, the nanoscale is the scale at which quantum physics and classical physics intersect. Because of these characteristics, nanosystems are very complex and their descriptions are data-intensive. In addition, many degrees of freedom of nanosystems are difficult to observe and manipulate experimentally. For these reasons, mathematical and computational methods are expected to play a major role in nanoscience and nanoengineering. Mathematics and computation can provide effective theory and simulations for analysis and interpretation of experimental results, model-based prediction of nanoscale phenomena, and design and control of nanoscale systems. Computational methods, such as density functional theory (DFT) and kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC), have already had major success in nanoscience, and there are still many opportunities for further involvement of mathematics and computation in nanoscience. Exploiting these opportunities will require collaboration between mathematical scientists and nanosystems researchers. Research at the nanoscale is naturally multi-disciplinary. Material sciences, life sciences and system sciences are all intimately involved in many of the current thrusts in nanoscale science. Mathematics also plays an important role in the interaction of these different disciplines, since they all use data, simulation and visualization. The new National Nanotechnology Initiative has highlighted the importance of nanoscale science and technology. This initiative is directed at accelerating the pace of research on the nanoscale in order to support its applications to electronics, medicine, and other fields. This initiative has spawned major new programs, such as the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Initiative at NSF and programs on spintronics, quantum computing and bio-computing at DARPA.


Program Period September 16, 2002 – December 13, 2002

Orientation Session:  Monday, September 16, 2002

Tutorials: September 17-20, 2002

Workshop I:  Alternative Computing

September 30 - October 3, 2002

Workshop II: Joint IPAM/MSRI Workshop on Quantum Computing

October 21 - 23, 2002

Workshop III: Data Analysis and Imaging

November 4 - 6, 2002

CIMMS-IPAM Workshop Molecular Modelling and Computation: Perspectives and Challenges

November 15-16, 2002 at Caltech

Workshop IV: Modeling and Simulation for Materials

November 19 – 22, 2002

Culminating Retreat at Lake Arrowhead

December 8-13, 2002


This conference will take place at the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference Center and will be the concluding workshop for the program. It will recap the results from the preceding topical workshops and formulate strategies for continuing involvement of mathematicians in nanosystem research. This conference will be by invitation only as space is limited.

Reunion Conferences

2003 and 2004

For each IPAM semester long program there will be one-week long reunion conferences in each of the following two years.

Local Seminars and Events

California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI)

Mathematics Department UCLA calendar

Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA calendar

Materials Science and Engineering UCLA calendar

Physics Department UCLA calendar

Electrical Engineering UCLA calendar

Mechanical and Aerospace UCLA calendar

Bioinformatics UCLA calendar

Computer Science UCLA calendar

Bioengineering UCLA calendar

Center for Integrative Multiscale Modeling and Simulation Caltech

Biomedical Engineering UCLA calendar

Contact Us:

Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM)
Attn: Nano2002
460 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles CA 90095-7121

Phone: 310 825-4755
Fax: 310 825-4756
Email: (310)825-4755

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