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ICAM Annual Conference 2012

Wann 24.05.2012 um 08:00 bis
26.05.2012 um 17:00
Wo New York University / New York Academy of Sciences
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ICAM Annual Conference 2012

From May 24 to 26, the 2012 ICAM Annual Conference took place in New York at the New York University and the New York Academy of Sciences. Established in 1999, ICAM, the Institute of Complex Adaptive Matter is a distributed experiment-based multi-institutional partnership (FRIAS being one of the partners) whose purpose is to identify major new research themes in complex adaptive matter. With by now 54 branch members in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia, ICAM aims to cluster more insight into not only Soft Matter, but also Biological Matter, Quantum Matter and New Materials for Sustainable Energy.

For this purpose, the organizers regularly bring together physicists, chemists, engineers and biologists assuming that most of the old and emerging questions in these fields can only be solved by an intense interplay between the different disciplines. Consequently the conference was structured into these four theme parts, with each block beginning with a general sketch of the most urgent questions, a couple of overview presentations, and, most interactive, a panel discussion with ample time for the exchange of sometimes very diverse thoughts and approaches.

The general consensus of the Energy Session was that the energy supply in the future will be a huge challenge and that socio-economical aspects should be brought more into focus. Furthermore, the ICAM community agreed upon the fact, that nuclear technologies will remain a necessary source of energy in the future, but that one should put more effort in understanding the underlying chemical mechanisms in order to improve the safety of this technology.

The Biology Panel brought up an interesting discourse on defintions – which naturally vary between the diciplines. Terms like „evolution“ and „life“ were extensively illuminated from different angles, and the only thing the scientists could agree upon was that there are no clear answers yet, not even proper universial definitions or simple models. However, in order to eventually be able to use biological principles to grow new materials one would first have to conclusively understand the dynamics and function of these biological materials.

Taken together the ICAM annual conference covered the science of emergence in Soft Biological Quantum Matter and energy matter, with frontier talks in each area from leaders in the field, ultimately aiming at possibilities for international outreach in science.