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      Scientific aspects


School and Workshop on Random Polymers and Related Topics
(14 - 25 May 2012)

Organizing Committee · Visitors and Participants · Overview · Activities · Venue · Funding for Students/Young Scientists


 Organizing Committee




 Visitors and Participants





Polymers are chemical compounds consisting of a large number of monomer units that are linked together by chemical bonds. Examples include DNA, proteins, sugars, cellulose, soap, rubber, plastics, etc. There is a natural framework for modeling polymers in probability theory and statistical physics: a polymer chain is modeled by a random path with a probability distribution that is Gibbsian; more specifically, we define an energy functional on polymer configurations such that the higher is the energy of the configuration, the less likely it appears.

Motivated by different physical phenomena, a variety of polymer models have been proposed and studied in the probability and statistical physics literature. The simplest polymer model is that of a simple random walk, which has no interaction between different monomers. By modifying the law of the random walk via the introduction of an appropriate energy functional, more realistic features can be introduced to account for the interaction between different monomers, and the interaction between the polymer and the environment. Furthermore, randomness (=disorder) can be incorporated into such interactions to model impurities. This leads to challenging problems, rich both in their physical behavior and in their mathematical structure.

The aim of this school and workshop is to bring together researchers working on random polymer models and related problems, as well as young researchers interested in this area, to foster learning, exchange of ideas, and collaboration, and to promote further progress in our understanding.

The topics to be covered in the school and workshop include, but are not restricted to: random pinning models, charged polymers, copolymer models, directed polymers with bulk disorder, Kardar-Parisi-Zhang (KPZ) universality class, and dynamics of polymers.



I. School: 14 - 18 May 2012

The first week of the program will be a school with three mini-courses. The first mini-course will be given by Frank den Hollander on some background material on probability theory and statistical physics. Two mini-courses then follow. Francesco Caravenna will give an overview of some classic random polymer models, such as the random pinning model, the copolymer model and the directed polymer model with bulk disorder. Timo Seppalainen will give an introduction to the KPZ universality class and its connection to the directed polymer model with bulk disorder, and to last passage percolation.

II. Workshop: 21 - 25 May 2012

The second week of the program will be a workshop on random polymer models and related problems.

Students and researchers who are interested in attending these activities and who do not require financial aid are requested to complete the online registration form.

The following do not need to register:

  • Those invited to participate.
  • Those applying for financial support.





 Funding for Students/Young Scientists


The Institute for Mathematical Sciences has limited funds to cover partial support for travel and living expenses for students or young scientists interested in participating in the program. Applications should be received at least three (3) months before the commencement of the program. Application for financial support is closed.


For enquiries, please email us at ims(AT)

For enquiries on scientific aspects of the program, please email Rongfeng Sun at


Organizing Committee · Visitors and Participants · Overview · Activities · Venue · Funding for Students/Young Scientists

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