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The mission of the Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST) is to pursue interdisciplinary research and education at the University of Maryland. The Institute provides support for theoretical and experimental research in areas at the intersection of traditional disciplines. Current research programs are in the areas of Applied Mathematics, Biophysics, Chaotic Dynamics, Chemical Physics, Optical Physics, Space Physics, Scientific Computation, and Statistical Physics. Several of the Distinguished University Professors on campus hold appointments in IPST and several of the faculty are members of the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering. Examples of the current research by Institute faculty are:

  • Study of the properties of fluids which are far from equilibrium.
  • Study of the properties of superfluids, fluids in glasslike states, and fluids near critical points.
  • Observation of magnetospheric electron precipitation using advanced riometers at the South Pole.
  • Massively parallel computation and visualization of classical fluids and fully ionized plasmas.
  • Investigation of non-linear mathematical systems exhibiting irregular chaotic behavior.
  • Application of new high-power laser technologies to the interactions of radiation and matter.
  • Experimental, theoretical, and computational investigation of interplanetary and interstellar plasmas.
  • Development and application of the tools of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics to the control of nano-structures on surfaces.
  • Mesoscopic equilibrium and mesoscopic nonequilibrium thermodynamics and its applications.
  • Experimental and theoretical research of frontier areas in biophysics.

There are over three dozen faculty members in IPST, most of whom hold joint appointments with academic units in the College of Computer, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences, and Engineering. The Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computation, Biophysics, and Chemical Physics Graduate Degree Programs supported by the Institute offer M.S. and Ph.D. degrees and faculty supervision for graduate students in these and other programs.