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Director's Welcome

Christopher Jarzynski
Christopher Jarzynski

The mission of the Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST) is to foster excellence in interdisciplinary research and education at the University of Maryland. IPST accomplishes this by integrating people, science and technology.

Our selective and highly ranked graduate programs in the fields of

provide specialized training at the intersection of traditional fields, and are a central component of our mission.

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News and Special Events

Chemical Physics graduate Richard Remsing wins prestigious ACS Postdoc Award

June 10, 2016. Dr. Richard Remsing, who received his Ph.D. in 2013 in Chemical Physics under the supervision of Distinguished University Professor John Weeks (IPST / Chemistry), has been awarded a Postdoctoral Research Award from the Physical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society. The award cites his research in electron transfer reactions within layered manganese dioxides, with his postdoctoral advisor, Professor Michael Klein (Temple University). Dr. Remsing's Ph.D. research investigated the structure and thermodynamics of molecular systems, particularly aqueous solutions, using the tools of Local Molecular Field Theory developed by the Weeks group at the University of Maryland.

James Drake collaborator in joint NASA and UMD mission to first ever observe how magnetic reconnection takes place in space

May 13, 2016. Professor James Drake (IPST / IREAP / JSSI / Physics) is a co-author in a research paper published in the May 13 issue of the journal Science that reports on the results of the first ever observed magnetic reconnection between the magnetic fields of the Sun and the Earth as recorded by NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission. The interactions of both magnetic fields are essential for life on Earth as the Earth's magnetic field serves as a shield against the high energy particles emitted by the Sun. For more on this fascinating research read the official CMNS press release.

US-Russia workshop on Phase Transitions in Fluids and Plasma

May 10, 2016. Professor Mikhail Anisimov (IPST / ChBE) recently organized a US-Russia workshop on Phase Transitions in Fluids and Plasma, which was hosted by IPST on April 29 - May 2. This workshop brought together experts from the University of Maryland and the Russian Academy of Sciences to discuss the physics, chemistry and modeling of fluids and plasmas under extreme conditions.

Professor Eun-Suk Seo elected the 46th President of the Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association

May 9, 2016. Professor Eun-Suk Seo (IPST / Physics) was elected the 46th President of the Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association (KSEA). KSEA was established in 1971, and has grown to have ~10,000 members with ~70 chapters/branches across the US. Professor Seo will mark a historic moment by becoming the first woman to be President of KSEA. Professor Seo is the leader of the ISS-CREAM project, an international collaboration investigating the origin of the extremely high energies of cosmic rays.

Ellen Williams elected to Royal Society

May 3, 2016. Distinguished University Professor Ellen D. Williams (IPST / Physics) has been elected as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society. Ellen is known for her pioneering work in experimental surface science, exploring both fundamental issues in basic statistical mechanics and practical applications to nanotechnology. She founded the University of Maryland Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and served as its Director from 1996 through 2009, and is now on leave of absence, serving as Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) in the US Department of Energy. The Royal Society is the national science academy of the United Kingdom, and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence (since 1660). Distinguished University Professor Michael E. Fisher is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Chris Jarzynski elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 28, 2016. Distinguished University Professor Chris Jarzynski (IPST / Chemistry and Biochemistry) has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The American Academy, founded in 1780, is a society and center for nonpartisan policy research dedicated to the cultivation of the arts and sciences. Other IPST faculty who are members of the American Academy include Distinguished University Professors Michael Fisher, Eugenia Kalnay, John Weeks and Ellen Williams. Chris will be inducted into the American Academy this October in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

IPST Lends Support to the RUM SpaceX Hyperloop Competition

April 28, 2016. In the winter of 2015 IPST was approached by student members of the RUM Hyperloop Team seeking space for team meetings over the winter break. After some discussion with the student team leaders IPST was able to provide use of conference room space in the IPST building (Bldg. 085) for the students to meet and finalize their presentation to SpaceX in January 2016. It was a successful presentation and the RUM (University of Maryland and Rutgers University) Student Team was one of 22 universities selected to develop a prototype of their design to be tested over the summer.

IPST continues to support the RUM Hyperloop Team by providing space for team meetings, lab area for assembling rail and pod parts and testing the prototype. We are please to assist the Engineering College and the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences in supporting these undergrad students in their quest to have their design selected for development by SpaceX.

Sokhan Min receives Outstanding Employee Award

April 28, 2016. Ms. Sokhan MIn (IPST) has received the Dean’s Outstanding Employee Award (exempt staff) from the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences (CMNS). Sokhan began working for IPST in 2004 as a student, and has progressed to Office Clerk, Administrative Assistant, Business Services Specialist, Research Coordinator, to her current position as Assistant Director of Administrative Services. Her service to IPST throughout these years has been characterized by exceptional diligence and professionalism. We are grateful for all she has done for the Institute, and truly proud that she has been recognized by this award.

Jeffrey Bub published book on quantum mechanics

April 28, 2016. Distinguished University Professor Jeffrey Bub (IPST / Philosophy) has recently published a book entitled "Bananaworld: Quantum Mechanics for Primates" (Oxford University Press). This engaging book explains the strange and counterintuitive features of quantum mechanics to non-physicist readers. Jeffrey emphasizes the close connections between quantum mechanics and information. These connections have come to be appreciated in recent decades and are actively being explored by researchers around the world, including at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS) here at the University of Maryland.

John Weeks to be honored at upcoming Rutgers Statistical Mechanics Conference

April 28, 2016. The achievements of Distinguished University Professor John Weeks (IPST / Chemistry and Biochemistry) will be celebrated at the upcoming 115th Statistical Mechanics Conference at Rutgers University, May 8-10, 2016. The other two guests of honor at this meeting will be Professor David Chandler (Berkeley) who is John’s longtime colleague, and Professor Julia Yeoman (Oxford) who was a postdoc with Distinguished University Professor Emeritus Michael Fisher.

Teri Schuler and Alexandra Thirumalai join IPST staff

April 28, 2016. Ms. Teri Schuler has joined IPST as an Administrative Assistant, providing assistance to the faculty and staff in the IPST building. She has had extensive experience on campus, having worked since 1993 at various departments, including Family Studies, the History Department, the Department of Environmental Science and Technology and the National Foreign Language Center. Ms. Alexandra Thirumalai, who completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland in 2012, has begun working as an Administrative Assistant Contract Employee in the IPST business office. Please welcome Teri and Alexandra to our staff!

Pratyush Tiwary to join the faculty of IPST and Chemistry/Biochemistry

April 28, 2016. Dr. Pratyush Tiwary has accepted an offer of a tenure-track faculty position, with a joint appointment in IPST and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Pratyush will join our University as an Assistant Professor in the summer of 2017, after finishing his current postdoctoral position at Columbia University in the group of Bruce Berne. Pratyush obtained his PhD in 2012 from the Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science at Caltech, and he spent two years as a postdoc with Michele Parrinello in Zurich. His research in computational and theoretical chemistry focuses on the development of algorithms for the simulation of complex systems characterized by multiple time scales.

Greg Morrison accepts faculty position in Physics at the University of Houston

April 28, 2016. Professor Greg Morrison (UMD Physics 2008) has accepted a tenure track faculty position at the University of Houston. Greg obtained his PhD in Physics in 2008, working in the research group of Distinguished University Professor Dave Thirumalai, now at the University of Texas. Professor Morrison’s research is in the field of complex networks.

Denise Abu-Laban to retire

April 28, 2016. Ms. Denise Abu-Laban, who has worked as Coordinator in the IPST Director’s Office since 2008, will take early retirement, effective June 1, 2016. Denise has worked tirelessly and with great professionalism in assistance to Dr. Roy and Dr. Jarzynski, and she has organized IPST Assemblies, promotion and appointment dossiers, and summer schools, among many other duties. Prior to working at IPST, Denise worked in the Dean’s Office of the College of Life Sciences as well as the Registrar’s Office. Her devoted service to the Institute and her gracious manner will certainly be missed!

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