Lawrence Wills Lecture 2013

"Why Physics: Beyond Atom Bombs and Big Bangs, Nanoscience"

Ivan K. Schuller
Center for Advanced Nanoscience
University of California San Diego
LA Jolla, Ca. 92093

    Physics has evolved as a discipline by asking fundamental questions about the universe. While some of the questions regarding the beginning and end of the universe are well known and publicized, what it is not commonly known that asking similar questions at or above the atomic level have lead to major scientific revolutions. I will describe in this talk how condensed matter physics at sizes approaching atomic dimensions ("nanostructures") is revolutionizing basic research in physics, chemistry and biology. When the size of a material approaches that of an atom its properties change radically. New, yet unobserved properties appear caused by the presence of atoms on the surface and by the fact that many of the electrons reside outside these nanostructures. For instance; magnetic materials cease to be so, gold becomes chemically active, the sensitivity of oxides to light increases greatly, and materials with properties non-existent in nature may be synthesized. The new physics evolving from this research may lead to novel applications which cannot be predicted at present, but which surely will revolutionize electronics, medicine, and engineering. This talk, accessible to non-experts, will be dedicated to highlighting the recent scientific advances in the field and possible new directions.

Prof. Schuller, a multiple award winning physicist and movie producer, will use movies and humor to illustrate difficult concepts and results in Nanoscience.

Work supported by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.
Slide Show of Lecture
Ivan K. Schuller

Ivan K. Schuller, Center for Advanced Nanoscience
University of California San Diego


The Lawrence Wills Lectures 

The Lawrence Wills Lectures are supported by The City College Fund in memory of Professor Lawrence Wills, who joined the CCNY Physics Department in 1933.  Until 1949 Professor Wills was the only theoretical physicist in the Department and taught classical theoretical physics and its mathematical methods as well as introductions to relativity and to quantum mechanics.  Prof. Wills' course was beyond compare in breadth and depth and in the clarity and elegance of its presentation.

The previous Lawrence Wills Lecture was delivered by Prof. Mildred Dresselhaus in 2010.

Prof. Ivan K. Schuller, of the Physics Department, the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) and the Center for Advanced Nanoscience (CAN) at the University of California-San Diego, is a Solid State Physicist.

A Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the Chilean, Spanish and Belgian Academies of Sciences, he has won many awards such as the American Physical Society's Wheatley (1999) and Adler Awards (2003), the German von Humbold prize (2002), the Materials Research Society Medal (2004), the Lawrence Award from the US Department of Energy (2005), a Honoris Causa Doctorate (2005) from the Spanish Universidad Complutense the largest European University, the Somiya Award from the International Union of Materials Research Societies (2008) and the UCSD Academic Senate Research Lectureship in Science, Engineering and Medicine (2008). 

He has published more than 480 technical papers and 20 patents, has given more than 350 invited lectures at international conferences and is one of the 100 most cited physicists (out of 500,000) in the last 15 years. Prof. Schuller's work was mentioned in the justification for the 2007 Nobel Prize as a precursor to the discovery of Giant Magnetoresistance.