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2017-2018 NSF Distinguished Lectures in Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Block copolymer in lamellar phase.

Credit: Institute for Molecular Engineering
Block copolymer in lamellar phase. Credit: Institute for Molecular Engineering

The National Science Foundationís (NSF) Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) invites media and members of the public to a series of lectures intended to promote discussion of issues that scientists expect to shape their research in the coming years.

MPSí mission is to harness the collective efforts of the mathematical and physical sciences communities to address compelling questions and push the boundaries of scientific frontiers. All of the 2017-2018 MPS distinguished lecturers have received NSF support allowing them to pursue cutting-edge research in fields ranging from the interaction of matter in the quantum realm to how chemistry works in space. The lectures allow these scientists and engineers the opportunity to communicate about their discoveries and potential applications for their work.

Where: NSF headquarters, 2415 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, directly across the street from the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station.

When: 2 p.m.-3 p.m. ET


  • Monday, Dec. 11, 2017: Soft Materials Research in the Era of Machine Learning, Juan de Pablo, professor of molecular engineering, University of Chicago.
  • Monday, Jan. 22, 2018: Turning Inert Nitrogen from the Atmosphere into Useful Products through Mild Catalytic Chemistry, Nobel laureate Richard Schrock, professor of chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Monday, Feb. 12, 2018: Strange Bonds and Odd Angles: Exploring Exotic Chemistry in Space, Michael McCarthy, associate director, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
  • Monday, April 23, 2018: Modeling and Simulation of Asteroid-Generated Tsunamis, Marsha Berger, professor of mathematics and computer science, New York University.
  • Monday, May 21, 2018: Hairy Hydrodynamics in Biology and Beyond, Anette (Peko) Hosoi, professor of mechanical engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Monday, June 25, 2018: Atomic Clocks in the Next Quantum Revolution, Marianna Safronova, professor of physics, University of Delaware.

These lectures will not be simulcast or recorded. If you would like to attend, please email Andrew Lovinger at to arrange for a visitor badge that will be available the day of the lecture. Include your name and, if you are a member of the media, your publication or outlet. Please make sure to register at least 24 hours prior to the lecture you would like to attend.

Visitors must present a government-issued ID to enter the building. For more information on travel to NSF or building access, see the Visit NSF webpage.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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