International/Informal Cluster Workshops

The idea to organize an International/Informal Cluster Workshop (ICW) was born on a late, warm summer afternoon in 1990. That time, Professor George Bertsch, a Nuclear Theorist, and Professor David Tomanek, a Condensed Matter Theorist at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Michigan State University, shared a National Science Foundation Research Grant on Atomic Clusters. The idea was to combine the common approaches of Nuclear and Condensed Matter Theory to describe elusive phenomena, such as ionization potentials and electronic excitations in isolated, small atomic clusters.

It did not take long to realize that there were eclatant disagreements between scientists working in the field of Atomic Clusters in as basic concepts as temperature, metallicity, and collectivity of excitations in these finite systems. We decided to invite the leading experts in the field of atomic clusters - theorists and experimentalists, physicists and chemists alike - to a three-day workshop at Michigan State University. The objective was to find common ground for serious discussions which are essential for future progress.

It turned out that a magical recipe worked: Disagreements were aired in very short presentations on well-defined topics, presented from the various viewpoints. Time allotted to discussions exceeded significantly the time allotted to the informal presentations on unpublished and controversial results. Behind often very animated discussions was a unanimous desire to find a common language and a basis for fundamental understanding. All participants made sure that none of the important aspects were swept under the rug. What we consider as our largest achievement was to get the proponents of vastly different approaches to talk to one another. As by a miracle, at the end of the first three-day workshop, the extremely heterogeneous group was not only exhausted, but expressed a strong desire to meet again and to continue the dialogue. The International/Informal Cluster Workshop (ICW) series was born.

Workshop on "Excitations in Alkali Clusters"
Michigan State University, July 29-31, 1991.

Workshop on "Electronic Excitations and Magnetism in Clusters"
Michigan State University, September 23-25, 1992.

Workshop on "Clusters as a Local Probe of Bulk Phenomena"
Michigan State University, August 4-6, 1993.

Col-de-Porte near Grenoble, July 11-13, 1994.

Col-de-Porte near Grenoble, February 7-9, 1996.

Workshop on "Structure and Dynamics of Metallic Clusters"
Humboldt University in Berlin, May 1-3, 1997.

Workshop on "Structure and Dynamics of Metallic Clusters"
Humboldt University in Berlin, November 12-14, 1998.

Millenium Cluster Workshop
France, Spring 2000.

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David Tomanek at Michigan State University

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