Spring 2007

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2007-2009 Programs

The 2007-2008 IMA thematic program is "Mathematics of Molecular and Cellular Biology." This program provides a setting for mathematicians and cellular biology. One of the goals of the program is to advance the development of a quantitative body of theory for biology created by people with strong backgrounds in both biology and the mathematical sciences, with the same sort of expected impact on biology as it math had on the sciences of physics, chemistry and engineering in the 20th century. In keeping with its mission of fostering interdisciplinary research, the IMA is offering several intensive workshops as part of this program. In the Fall quarter we will begin with nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) organization, structure, function, and the interaction between DNA and RNA in the production of proteins and the orchestration of cellular metabolism. In the Winter quarter we will devote our attention to the study of protein structure and function. The new science of proteomics aims to understand how proteins are produced and how they function and malfunction. We need to understand how protein production is controlled, and the cascade of interaction among families of proteins. The spring quarter will focus on the mathematics of cellular physiology, a highly complex biological system, with structures from molecular to macroscopic scale, and processes with critical time scales from nanoseconds to hours. Modeling cellular behavior poses significant challenges to the mathematical sciences. The speakers and the audience at these workshops will be a mix of mathematicians, biologists,physicists and engineers including young people interested in work at the math/bio interface. Limited financial support is available for the workshops. Detailed information about this program can be found at http://www.ima.umn.edu/2007-2008/.

The 2008-2009 IMA thematic program will be on "Mathematics and Chemistry." Computational chemistry has reached a stage of development where many chemical properties of both simple and complex systems may now be computed more accurately, more economically, or more speedily than they can be measured. Further advances in accuracy and practicality will depend on the development of both new theory and new algorithms, and mathematical techniques will play an important role in both of these areas. The advances in chemical theory and computations have built on interfaces with a number of areas of mathematics, including differential equations, linear and nonlinear algebra, optimization theory, probability theory, stochastic analysis, sampling theory, complex analysis, geometry, group theory, and numerical analysis. Further progress in computational chemistry will require that the ties between chemistry and mathematics be strengthened. This IMA program will provide a setting for the chemistry and mathematics communities to examine some of these problems together. The year will focus on issues in electronic structure, dynamics, and statistical mechanics, including both the mathematical underpinnings of modern molecular modeling and simulation and practical issues in state-of-the-art applications. Applications areas will include organic and inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, solid-state chemistry, nanochemistry, advanced materials, photochemistry, catalysis, and environmental chemistry. Emphasis will be placed on mingling applied mathematicians with theoretical and computational chemists in each workshop. Opportunities for the participation in the 2008-2009 program include New Directions research professorships for established mathematicians seeking to branch into new interdisciplinary research directions, regular and industrial postdoctoral fellowships (application deadline is January 15, 2008 for all these), and general memberships (visits of a month or more, no application deadline).