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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Student office in IPST building
Student office in IPST building
The newly renovated Michael Coplan Student Study Room has opened to students of the Chemical/Physics and Bio/Physics Graduate programs for the Fall 2014 semester. This renovation and new furnishings were made possible by the financial partnership between IPST; the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS); and UMD Campus Facilities. Many thanks go to Jack Baker, Director of Facilities for his support for this renovation and Tom McMullen, Assistant Dean for Facilities, CMNS, providing financial support without which the furnishings for 19 graduate students would not have been possible.

News and Special Events

20th Annual Shih-I Pai Lecture

September 22, 2014. The Institute for Physical Science and Technology and the Department of Physics announce the 20th Annual Shih-I Pai Lecture. This year's lecture will be presented by Scientist Emeritus Dr. Johanna M. H. (Anneke) Levelt Sengers, National Insititue of Standards and Technology. Her talk, Pride and Prejudice in Science and Engineering, will be given on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 4 p.m. in room 1412 of the Physics building at the University of Maryland, College Park. A reception preceding the lecture will take place at the James A. Yorke Rotunda in the Mathematics building from 3 to 3:50 p.m. All are invited.

Christopher Jarzynski named Distinguished University Professor

August 11, 2014. Christopher Jarzynski, director of IPST and professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been awarded the title of Distinguished University Professor. This title, the highest academic honor that our university confers upon a faculty member, was awarded by President Wallace Loh in acknowledgement of Jarzynski’s work in the field of nonequilibrium thermodynamics. Jarzynski joins a long and prestigious list of IPST faculty members who have been awarded this title, including James Drake who received it earlier this year.

Zombie Spaceship

August 8, 2014. IPST professor Michael Coplan was quoted in an August 8, 2014 New York Times article about the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3, a NASA spacecraft launched in 1978 that passed near Earth recently, long after contact with the craft had been lost. A team of citizen scientists have rebooted many of the experiments on the spacecraft, including Coplan’s instrument that measured the ion composition of the solar wind from 1978 to 1985 and the composition of the tail of comet Giacobini-Zinner in 1985. A number of Maryland undergraduate and graduate students who went on to scientific and technical careers participated in the design, construction, and calibration of the instrument as well as the analysis of the data. More information about the spacecraft, including its 36-year trajectory and some of the data it has collected, can be found on, a website started with help from Google.

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