ICAM Progress Report--February 2000 


ICAM began operating as an independent unit of the University of California, located at Los Alamos, reporting to the UC Office of the President, on March 4, 1999, with founding
meetings in Oakland, Ca, of its Board of Trustees, chaired by Zachary Fisk (Florida State) and Alexandra Navrotsky (UC Davis), and its Science Steering Committee, chaired by Robert Laughlin (Stanford) and Peter Wolynes (UIUC).

Initial funding for its operations in FY 1999 and FY 2000 has come from the UC Office of the President ($100k/year) and Los Alamos National Laboratory ($100k/year). In addition a grant of $25k has been received from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation in support of workshops, and a grant of $45k has been received from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in support of Nascent Research Groups.

Don M. Parkin (ICAM and Los Alamos) and David Pines (ICAM and Los Alamos) are the Co-Directors of ICAM.


ICAM held two workshops during its first six months of operation in FY 1999.

Adaptive Atoms in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and the Environment. 

Co-chaired by Daniel Cox (UC Davis), Zachary Fisk (FSU), Andrew Shreve and John Kazuba (Los Alamos), the workshop examined a broad range of systems in which adaptive atoms (intermediate valence atoms) play a key role. They concluded there was so much to be gained by bringing physical scientists, biologists, and environmental scientists together to tackle problems at the frontier in this field that the study of adaptive atoms and their role in electron transfer reactions, broadly defined, could be regarded as a grand scientific challenge for the ICAM scientific community. To date, the workshop has given rise to one scientific paper, A New Mechanism for Long-Range Electron Transfer in Biological Systems, by D.L. Cox, R.R.P. Singh, and S.K.Pati (UC Davis), which has been submitted to Science for publication, and to some seven nascent research groups--scientists from different fields and institutions who seek bridging support to initiate collaborations on problems identified at the workshop. It has also served to stimulate the formation of ICAM nodes in this and related areas at UC Davis, Rice University, Oxford University, and Los Alamos.

The nascent research groups arising out of the workshop are the following:

1) Study of Mixed Valence (MV) Systems in Solid State, Chemical and Biological Condensed Matter: from Heterogeneous to Homogeneous MV

Dan Cox and Ragiv Singh (UC Davis), Zach Fisk (Florida State University), and Bob Heffner, Heinrich Roder, John Sarrao, Andy Shreve, A. Taylor, S. Trugman, and Dave Whitten (Los Alamos)

2) Macroporous Ceramics for Photonic Applications

Vicki L. Colvin (Rice University), David E. Morris and Carol J. Burns (Los Alamos)

3) Theoretical Approaches to Lanthanide Ions in the Solid State and the Environment

D. L. Cox (UC Davis), R. L. Martin, Jeff Hay, Lawrence Pratt (Los Alamos)

4) Nanomaterial Applications to Problems in Actinide Environmental Geochemistry

Paul Alivisatos (UC Berkeley), John P. Kaszuba (Los Alamos) and Vicki Colvin (Rice University)

5) Thermodynamic Applications to Problems in the Geochemistry of Plutonium Colloid Complexes

Alexandra Navrotsky (UC Davis) and John P. Kaszuba (Los Alamos)

6) Anomalous Elasticity and Electronic Structure in Actinide Compunds

G. Kotliar (Rutgers) and J. Thompson (Los Alamos)

7)  Actinide Structure Issues

Peter Nordlander and Gus Scuseria (Rice University) and Richard Martin, Jeff Hay, and Matt Challacombe, (Los Alamos) 

Mesoscopic Organization in Matter

Chaired by Robert Laughlin (Stanford), Peter Wolynes (UIUC), David Pines (ICAM and Los Alamos) and Alexander Balatsky (Los Alamos), the workshop brought together thirty-three senior scientists, three postdocs and three graduate students for an in-depth discussion of mesoscopic organization in matter. There was unanimous agreement among the participants that the mesoscopic world is a key frontier in science, and that one of the grand scientific challenges in the study of matter is establishing the existence or non-existence of mesoscopic protectorates, rules of organization of matter on this scale that transcend details. A second grand scientific challenge identified at the workshop was establishing the structure-energy landscape-dynamics- function connections in biology that will make possible the predictive design and synthesis of biomolecules. There was agreement that sharp disciplinary boundaries are counterproductive in pursuing these challenges, and that great untapped opportunities lie at the interface between the cultures of the physical and biological sciences.

To date, the workshop has led to one paper, The Middle Way, by R. B. Laughlin, D.Pines. J. Schmalian, B. Stojkovic, and P.G. Wolynes, an in-depth overview of mesoscopic organization in matter written for a general audience, which has appeared in PNAS 97, 32 (2000). It also led to nine requests for bridging support (glue money) to assist in the formation of multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research groups devoted to examining specific aspects of these challenges, and to the expected establishment of ICAM research nodes at UCSB, UCLA, UCSD, UCB, UIUC, Stanford, Rutgers, Iowa State, and the University of Chicago

The nascent research groupings arising out of the workshop are the following: 

1) Pattern Formation in Langmuir Films

David Oxtoby (University of Chicago), and Atul Parikh and Branko P. Stojkovic (Los Alamos)

2) The Influence of Protein Substrates on the Chemical Function of Heme Proteins

Peter Wolynes (UIUC), Benjamin H. McMahon and Branko P. Stojkovic (Los Alamos)

3) Stability of Quantum Glasses

J. Schmalian (Iowa State and Ames National Lab) and P. G. Wolynes (UIUC)

4) Shape Deformation, Phase Separation and Hydrodynamics in Vesicles and Related Soft Condensed Matter Systems

Jack Douglas (NIST), Evan Evans (Univ. British Columbia), Greg Smith, T. Lookman, A. Saxena, Y. Jiang, Alan Bishop, and A. N. Parikh (Los Alamos)

5) Electrically Active Domain Walls in Manganites

Andy Millis (Rutgers Univ.) and Avadh Saxena (Los Alamos)

6) Glassy Behavior in Unconventional Superconductors

Joerg Schmalian (Iowa State and Ames National Laboratory) and Chris Hammel, Nick Curro, Branko Stojkovic, Joe Thompson, Alan Bishop, and John Sarrao (Los Alamos)

7) Inelastic Neutron Studies of Mesoscopic Organization of Spin and Charge in Underdoped Cuprates Superconductors

G. Aeppli (NEC), T. Mason , P. Dai , and H. Mook (ORNL), R. Birgenau (MIT), G. Shirane (BNL), J. Schmalian (Ames) and D. Morr and D. Pines (Los Alamos)

8) Complexity in Correlated Electronic Materials

B. Maple (UCSD) and A.V. Balatsky and J. Sarrao (Los Alamos)

9) The Emergence of the Phylotypic Stage of Biological Development

Andrei Ruckenstein (Rutgers University) and Michel Kerszberg (Pasteur Institute)


Web site, Publications, and Educational Outreach

Web site 

An ICAM web site has been established. It is http://cnls.lanl.gov/ICAM

There one may find a detailed report on the December, 1998, ICAM Founding Workshop, the membership of the ICAM Advisory Committee, and detailed information on the results of the FY 1999 Workshops , future ICAM Exploratory Workshops and proposed Nascent Research Groups. 


ICAM activities and workshops have resulted in the following papers

The Theory of Everything, R. B. Laughlin(Stanford) and D. Pines (ICAM),  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97, 28 (2000)

Recent developments in our understanding of matter, broadly construed, and their implications for contemporary research in fundamental physics, are discussed

The Middle Way, R. B. Laughlin (Stanford), D. Pines (ICAM), J. Schmalian (Iowa State), B. Stojkovic (Los Alamos) , and P.G. Wolynes (UIUC), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97, 32 (2000)

Based in part on discussions at the ICAM Workshop on Mesoscopic Organization in Matter, this is an authoritative overview, written for the non-specialist, of The Middle Way, the authors term for the search for the organizing principles appropriate to the mesoscopic domain

A New Mechanism for Long-Range Electron Transfer in Biological Systems, D.L. Cox, R.R. P. Singh, and S.K. Pati (UC Davis), submitted to Science

A new theoretical mechanism for long range electron transfer between donor and acceptor sites in biological/biomimetic molecules is presented. 

Educational Outreach 

As part of its educational outreach program, ICAM supported the participation of eight graduate students and postdocs at the International Conference on Complex Adaptive Matter held in June, 1999 at Los Alamos.


Approved Exploratory Workshops for FY 2000 and 2001

We list here, by title and organizers, workshops that have been approved by the Science Steering Committee. Their precise scheduling will depend on funding availability for FY 2000 and FY 2001. In addition, members of the ICAM scientific community are currently developing in some detail a number of other themes that appear ripe for an exploratory workshop, and an annual call for workshop proposals will be issued to the broader scientific community by ICAM management.

1) New Probes of Complex Adaptive Matter  May 1 - May 3, 2000

Organizer, David Awschalom, UCSB

2) Physical Studies of Biological Systems: Techniques

Organizers: *David Eisenberg (UCLA) Jill Trewhella (Los Alamos), Feri Mezei (Los Alamos) and *Kurt Wuttrich (Zurich)

*To be confirmed

3) Designing Emergent Matter

Laura Greene and Ralph Nuzzo (UIUC) and George Whitesides (Harvard)

4) Neural Complexity for Physical Scientists

Organizers: Charles Stevens (Salk Institute) and David Pines (ICAM and Los Alamos)

5) Cellular Complexity for Physical Scientists

Organizers: Lee Hartwell and Daniel Gottschalling (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute), Stanislas Leibler (Princeton) and David Pines (Los Alamos)

6) Complex Adaptive Matter Dynamics: from Clusters and Polymers to Proteins and Nucleic Acids

Organizers: R. Stephen Berry (Chicago and NAS) and Angel Garcia (Los Alamos)

Preparation of an ICAM Proposal to the National Science Foundation

A proposal to the NSF exists in draft form. The scientists who have prepared the proposal and are listed as PI’s or Co-PI’s are the following:

PI ‘s:

Don M. Parkin, Co-Director ICAM /Center for Materials Science, Los Alamos

David Pines, Co-Director ICAM / LANSCE Division, Los Alamos


Elihu Abrahams (Rutgers University)

Zachary Fisk (Florida State University)

Robert Laughlin (Stanford University)

Alexandra Navrotsky (University of California, Davis)

George M. Whitesides (Harvard University)

Peter Wolynes (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)