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Chicago Materials Research Center

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Materials Research Science and Engineering Center  (University of Chicago)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at the University of Chicago is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). MRSECs support interdisciplinary materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and engineering that are important to society.

The Chicago Materials Research Center incubates innovative research to produce the design principles for the next generation of materials. The research is focused on investigating materials formed far from equilibrium, exploring new paradigms for materials fabrication and response, and exploiting feedback between structure and dynamics. Four interdisciplinary research groups study the factors causing flowing systems to become rigid and trapped far from equilibrium; the dynamics of interfaces, such as on the surface of a droplet or a membrane; new classes of materials based on the large assortment of nanometer-sized particles that are now available; and fundamental issues in quantum materials engineering.

Education & Outreach

The integration of research with education and outreach is an essential aspect of the Center's mission. In order to assure the most effective use of our expertise and resources, we have developed a multi-faceted approach that encompasses education and career development within the research community, K-12 outreach, and informal science outreach.

These efforts include seminar series and workshops, run by MRSEC and open to all interested, as well as an active visitors program to foster collaborations. Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and pre-college internship programs invite students to experience cutting-edge research by working in laboratories at the Center. Programs for K-12 students and teacher training reach out to Chicago's South Side community and encourage the participation of underrepresented minority students in science. The Center's after-school science clubs actively engage students in scientific inquiry and foster mentoring relationships with Center participants. Informal science outreach includes work with museums, exhibit development, and dialogue with the arts to encourage creative approaches to enhance the exploration and understanding of the Center's research.

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  • Image from an NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).
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