This award continues support for the International Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter (I2CAM) that was founded in 2004. This Institute is based at the University of California and includes senior researchers from several universities within the USA and partners from Brazil, France, Germany, India, Switzerland, Ukraine, and United Kingdom. This International Materials Institute (IMI) is funded by NSF's Division of Materials Research. The IMI's research focus is to identify organizing principles behind the emergence of new, complex, collective phenomena and behavior in soft condensed matter, strongly correlated electron and biological systems. The Institute organizes exploratory workshops and schools on cutting edge research topics in emergent phenomena in complex adaptive matter, including human brain, bringing together materials scientists, biologists and neuroscientists. I2CAM also offers travel grants to junior scientists and graduate students to attend conferences, workshops, or schools as well as provides support for short international exchange visits to start and develop collaborative projects. Furthermore, postdoctoral research fellowship awards are also supported by I2CAM for collaborative research at two (or more) international institutions. Over 70 institutions in US, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America participate in I2CAM activities. Outreach efforts of I2CAM include: Emergent Universe project with a goal to develop an online science museum devoted to explaining the concept of emergent phenomena in matter to general public; a series of videos called Great Explanations on quantum criticality, amyloid matter, protein folding and biological motors to be posted on YouTube and SciVee; ICAMIPEDIA is an effort to develop a base of articles on emergent phenomena in matter which go beyond Wikipedia in detail without being excessively technical. The IMI's management consists of Co-directors, Board of Governors, Executive, Steering, Coordinating, and Fellowship committees as well as an External Advisory Committee that provides an annual review and council.
This award is jointly funded by DMR-OSP, PHY-PoLS, PHY-AMO, BIO-IOS, BIO-MCB and OISE.
Emergent phenomena are those which arise from a collective interaction of well understood parts to produce a surprising whole. The canonical example is: how can a group of molecules come together to think about what molecules are, that is, how does consciousness emerge? The International Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter (I2CAM) made significant contributions to the understanding of emergent phenomena in materials during the last five years of support from the National Science Foundation, as measured in part by over two hundred scientific papers supported in part by I2CAM. I2CAM is highly interdisciplinary, with participation by physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers, and mathematicians, and of our hundreds of participants over the last five years, the majority have been graduate students or postdoctoral researchers without permanent research appointments (Fig. 1). An increasing fraction of our participation has been by women, ranging from 20-30% annually. Under the NSF support, I2CAM has grown into a truly international science network, with over sixty branches around the world (Fig. 1). Intellectual Merit: Discoveries supported by I2CAM range among: contributions to the understanding of quantum mechanical effects in photosynthesis (Fig. 2). This work, done in part by then Postdoctoral Researcher Elad Harel, shows evidence that the antennae complex used by some bacteria to trap light energy for funneling into the photosynthetic complex can display evidence of quantum oscillations up to nearly room temperature; Harel and co-authors have made the argument that the quantum oscillations enhance the effectiveness of the photosynthesis and thus may be an outcome of evolutionary selection. Elad is now a professor of chemistry at Northwestern University. an understanding of how networks of actin protein filaments which undergo buckling can generate contractile forces for motion of living cells (Fig. 3). This work was carried out by exchange awardee Mike Murrell who shared time in Chicago and the ESPCI in Paris. Mike is now a professor of biomedical engineering at University of Wisconsin. how an older class of semiconducting materials with tiny energy gaps (Kondo insulators) could prove of great importance in the developing field of quantum computing. This work was carried out by former I2CAM Junior Scientist Maxim Dzero (now faculty at Kent State) and I2CAM co-PI Piers Coleman. Broader Impacts: We also worked towards conveying the excitement and meaning of emergence to the public through our on line science museum emergentuniverse.org and with the building of a traveling superconducting levitating train demonstration by former I2CAM exchange awardee Suchitra Sebastian (now on the faculty at Cambridge) (Fig. 4). We contributed significantly to the training of the next generation of leaders in interdisciplinary materials science through workshops and schools emphasizing discussion and access by young scientists at the graduate or postdoctoral level, and by supporting international scientific exchange (Fig. 5) of junior scientists to promote and nucleate new collaborative research. By leveraging our resources we have provided support to over one hundred workshops in the last five years and twenty two schools to help train young scientists. This effort to inculcate the excitement of emergence in matter in young scientists included our first school in Africa, held last summer in South Africa. Among the workshops and schools we have funded: The first international workshop exploring the physics of memristor devices, a new paradigm for computer processing in which the switches can also hold memory, analogous to nerve cells. (UC Davis, 2010) Three annual schools in Juelich, Germany, on the latest methods of computer approaches to understanding the behavior of electrons in complex materials, which hosted numerous American junior and senior scientists and led to a free on line textbook. A major international workshop at New York University on the programmable self-assembly of matter (NYU, 2013); self-assembly of components is a key goal of the "bottoms up" approach to manufacturing so that instead of using high temperatures, much energy and water, we might be able to "grow" devices at room temperature with less environmental consequence. An international school on materials for sustainable energy at Boulder in 2012, with an accompanying workshop on emerging principles of nanophotovoltaics (Fig. 6). A workshop in Spain organized by Center for Theoretical Biological Physics co-director Herb Levine on the physics of the interactions between glial cells (which make up about half our brain) and neurons, a field of growing interest and potential impact in the BRAIN initiative (2012). Twenty two of our young scientists have landed positions at major research universities, including Northwestern (Elad Harel), Wisconsin (Mike Murrell), Northeastern (Paul Whitford), Cambridge (Suchitra Sebastian), Ecole Normale Superiore (Aleksandra Walczak). We have also conveyed the excitement of I2CAM science to scientists far and wide through the archiving of nearly one thousand videos on SciVee.Tv, primarily on the ICAMVID channel. These videos have been viewed over six hundred thousand times.