Organizing Committee

Liquid crystals (LCs) are classic examples of partially ordered materials that combine the fluidity of liquids with the long-range order of solids, and have great potential to enable new materials and technological devices. A variety of LC phases exist, e.g. nematics, smectics, cholesterics, with a rich range of behavior when subjected to external fields, curved boundaries, mechanical strain, etc. Recently, new systems came into focus, such as bent-core LC phases, twist-bend-modulated nematics, chromonics and polymer-stabilized blue phases, with more to be discovered.

Best known for applications in displays, LCs have recently been proposed for new applications in biology, nanoscience and beyond, such as biosensors, actuators, drug delivery, and bacterial control (related to active matter). Indeed, it is believed that the LC nature of DNA once enabled the mother of all applications, namely life itself. New numerical methods and scientific computation is needed to guide new theory and models for these systems that capture the interplay of symmetry, geometry, temperature and confinement in spatio-temporal pattern formation for LCs and extended LC-like systems.

This workshop provides an interdisciplinary platform for computational and experimental research in extended LC-like systems, and how these approaches can yield new theoretical insight for novel LC systems.

Image: Cholesteric LC shells with a thin top let light through from above, resulting in multiple internal selective reflection events. The shells act as a selective optical echo chamber. Picture credit: Dr. Yong Geng.

Confirmed Speakers & Participants

  • Speaker
  • Poster Presenter
  • Attendee

Workshop Schedule

Monday, December 9, 2019
8:30 - 8:55Registration - ICERM 121 South Main Street, Providence RI 0290311th Floor Collaborative Space 
8:55 - 9:00Welcome - ICERM Director11th Floor Lecture Hall 
9:00 - 9:45TBD - Apala Majumdar, University of Bath/University of Strathclyde11th Floor Lecture Hall 
10:00 - 10:30Coffee/Tea Break11th Floor Collaborative Space 
10:30 - 11:15TBD - Cecilia Leal, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign11th Floor Lecture Hall 
11:30 - 12:15Convergent finite element methods in micromagnetics - Michele Ruggeri, TU Wien11th Floor Lecture Hall
12:30 - 2:30Break for Lunch / Free Time  
2:30 - 3:15Energy-Minimization, Finite Elements, and Multilevel Methods for Nematic and Cholesteric Liquid Crystals - James Adler, Tufts University11th Floor Lecture Hall
3:30 - 4:00Coffee/Tea Break11th Floor Collaborate Space 
4:00 - 4:45Patterns of umbilical defects in liquid crystals guided by topography - Francesca Serra, John Hopkins University11th Floor Lecture Hall
5:00 - 6:30Welcome Reception11th Floor Collaborative Space 
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
9:00 - 9:45Three-dimensional solitons in nematic liquid crystals - Maria-Carme Calderer, University of Minnesota11th Floor Lecture Hall
10:00 - 10:30Coffee/Tea Break11th Floor Collaborative Space 
10:30 - 11:15Computing multiple solutions of partial differential equations - Patrick Farrell, University of Oxford11th Floor Lecture Hall
11:30 - 12:15TBD - Giusy Scalia, Université du Luxembourg11th Floor Lecture Hall 
12:30 - 2:00Break for Lunch / Free Time  
2:00 - 2:45Structure preserving schemes for complex nonlinear systems - Jie Shen, Purdue University11th Floor Lecture Hall
3:00 - 4:30Poster Session & Coffee/Tea Break11th Floor Collaborate Space 
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
9:00 - 9:45A blend of stretching and bending in liquid crystal networks - Epifanio Virga, University of Pavia11th Floor Lecture Hall
10:00 - 10:30Coffee/Tea Break11th Floor Collaborative Space 
10:30 - 11:15Toroidal self-assembly in columnar chromonic liquid crystals - Lidia Mrad, Mount Holyoke College11th Floor Lecture Hall
11:30 - 12:15Numerical Study for Defects in Nematic Liquid Crystals- A Discrete Energetic Variational Approach - Yiwei Wang, Illinois Institute of Technology11th Floor Lecture Hall
12:30 - 12:40Workshop Group Photo  
12:30 - 2:30Break for Lunch / Free Time  
2:30 - 3:15TBD - Sabetta Matsumoto, Georgia Institute of Technology11th Floor Lecture Hall 
3:30 - 4:00Coffee/Tea Break11th Floor Collaborate Space 
Thursday, December 12, 2019
9:00 - 9:45Collective Patterns in Active Liquid Crystal Systems - Qi Wang, University of South Carolina11th Floor Lecture Hall
10:00 - 10:30Coffee/Tea Break11th Floor Collaborative Space 
10:30 - 11:15Shape Evolution Problems in Liquid Crystals - Timothy Atherton, Tufts University11th Floor Lecture Hall
11:30 - 12:15Understanding the auxetic response in liquid crystal elastomers. - Helen Gleeson, University of Leeds11th Floor Lecture Hall
12:30 - 2:30Break for Lunch / Free Time  
2:30 - 3:15Liquid Crystals for Organic Electronics Applications - Claudio Zannoni, University of Bologna, Italy11th Floor Lecture Hall
3:30 - 4:00Coffee/Tea Break11th Floor Collaborate Space 
4:00 - 4:45A structure-preserving finite element method for uniaxial nematic liquid crystals - Ricardo Nochetto, University of Maryland11th Floor Lecture Hall
Friday, December 13, 2019
9:00 - 9:45The role of free volume in liquid crystal systems - Peter Palffy-Muhoray, Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute, Kent State Univesity11th Floor Lecture Hall
10:00 - 10:30Coffee/Tea Break11th Floor Collaborative Space 
10:30 - 11:15TBD - Kirsten Harth, Otto von Guericke University11th Floor Lecture Hall 
11:30 - 12:15Energy Stable Numerical Approximations for Hydrodynamic Liquid-Crystal Models - Jia Zhao, Utah State University11th Floor Lecture Hall
12:30 - 2:30Break for Lunch / Free Time  
3:30 - 4:00Coffee/Tea Break11th Floor Collaborate Space 

Application Information

ICERM welcomes applications from faculty, postdocs, graduate students, industry scientists, and other researchers who wish to participate. Some funding may be available for travel and lodging. Graduate students who apply must have their advisor submit a statement of support in order to be considered.

Your Visit to ICERM

ICERM Facilities
ICERM is located on the 10th & 11th floors of 121 South Main Street in Providence, Rhode Island. ICERM's business hours are 8:30am - 5:00pm during this event. See our facilities page for more info about ICERM and Brown's available facilities.
Traveling to ICERM
ICERM is located at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Providence's T.F. Green Airport (15 minutes south) and Boston's Logan Airport (1 hour north) are the closest airports. Providence is also on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. In-depth directions and transportation information are available on our travel page.
To secure ICERM's preferred hotel rate at the Hampton Inn & Suites Providence Downtown, use this link. ICERM regularly works with two additional area hotels for short visits. The Graduate Hotel and Hilton Garden Inn both have discounted rates available. Contact before booking outside of the preferred rate or if you would like to book alternate accommodations.
The only way ICERM participants should book a room is through the hotel reservation links located on this page or through links emailed to them from an ICERM email address ( ICERM never works with any conference booking vendors and never collects credit card information.
Those traveling with family who are interested in information about childcare and/or schools should contact
Technology Resources
Wireless internet access ("Brown-Guest") and wireless printing is available for all ICERM visitors. Eduroam is available for members of participating institutions. Thin clients in all offices and common areas provide open access to a web browser, SSH terminal, and printing capability. See our Technology Resources page for setup instructions and to learn about all available technology.
Discrimination and Harassment Policy
ICERM is committed to creating a safe, professional, and welcoming environment that benefits from the diversity and experiences of all its participants. Both the Brown University "Code of Conduct" and the "Discrimination and Workplace Harassment Policy" apply to all ICERM participants and staff. Participants with concerns or requests for assistance on a discrimination or harassment issue should contact the ICERM Director, who is the responsible employee at ICERM under this policy.
Exploring Providence
Providence's world-renowned culinary scene provides ample options for lunch and dinner. Neighborhoods near campus, including College Hill Historic District, have many local attractions. Check out the map on our Explore Providence page to see what's near ICERM.

Visa Information

Contact for assistance.

Eligible to be reimbursed
B-1 or Visa Waiver Business (WB)
Ineligible to be reimbursed
B-2 or Visa Waiver Tourist (WT)
Already in the US?

F-1 and J-1 not sponsored by ICERM: need to obtain a letter approving reimbursement from the International Office of your home institution PRIOR to travel.

H-1B holders do not need letter of approval.

All other visas: alert ICERM staff immediately about your situation.

ICERM does not reimburse visa fees. This chart is to inform visitors whether the visa they enter the US on allows them to receive reimbursement for the items outlined in their invitation letter.

Financial Support

Acceptable Costs
  • 1 roundtrip between your home institute and ICERM
  • Flights on U.S. or E.U. airlines – economy class to either Providence airport (PVD) or Boston airport (BOS)
  • Ground Transportation to and from airports and ICERM.
Unacceptable Costs
  • Flights on non-U.S. or non-E.U. airlines
  • Flights on U.K. airlines
  • Seats in economy plus, business class, or first class
  • Change ticket fees of any kind
  • Multi-use bus passes
  • Meals or incidentals
Advance Approval Required
  • Personal car travel to ICERM from outside New England
  • Multiple-destination plane ticket; does not include layovers to reach ICERM
  • Arriving or departing from ICERM more than a day before or day after the program
  • Multiple trips to ICERM
  • Rental car to/from ICERM
  • Flights on a Swiss, Japanese, or Australian airlines
  • Arriving or departing from airport other than PVD/BOS or home institution's local airport
  • 2 one-way plane tickets to create a roundtrip (often purchased from Expedia, Orbitz, etc.)
Reimbursement Request Form

Refer to the back of your ID badge for more information. Checklists are available at the front desk.

Reimbursement Tips
  • Scanned original receipts are required for all expenses
  • Airfare receipt must show full itinerary and payment
  • ICERM does not offer per diem or meal reimbursement
  • Allowable mileage is reimbursed at prevailing IRS Business Rate and trip documented via pdf of Google Maps result
  • Keep all documentation until you receive your reimbursement!
Reimbursement Timing

6 - 8 weeks after all documentation is sent to ICERM. All reimbursement requests are reviewed by numerous central offices at Brown who may request additional documentation.

Reimbursement Deadline

Submissions must be received within 30 days of ICERM departure to avoid applicable taxes. Submissions after thirty days will incur applicable taxes. No submissions are accepted more than six months after the program end.