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49th IFF Spring School

Physics of Life

26 February – 09 March 2018 in Jülich, Germany


The IFF Spring School & Biophysics Research in Jülich

The annual IFF Spring School is a long-standing tradition of the Institut für Festkörperforschung (IFF) which was founded in 1969. The institute’s research topics ranged from electronic and structural properties of solids and nanoelectronics, to the thermal and dynamical behaviour of soft matter. The IFF has organized the Spring School for over 40 years. Since the restructuring in 2011, research in the area of electronic systems, their phenomena, as well as their applications in information technology, became part of the Peter Grünberg Institute (PGI) named after the IFF scientist who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2007. Biophysics and soft matter research is now located at the Institute of Complex Systems (ICS). These institutes are linked together and supported by the Institute for Advanced Simulation (IAS), which focuses on developing and applying high-performance computing to understand complex systems, and the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS), which is dedicated to the operation of neutron scattering instruments at national and international neutron sources. The IFF Spring School is now organized in turns by PGI and ICS.

The Institute of Complex Systems (ICS) consists of 8 departments: neutron scattering, theoretical soft matter and biophysics, soft matter, cellular biophysics, molecular biophysics, structural biochemistry, biomechanics, and bioelectronics. A major objective of biophysics research is to understand processes far from equilibrium, which distinguishes dead from living matter, and thus to elucidate the structure and function of biological matter and living systems. Examples include biomolecules, such as DNA and various proteins, cells with their complex machinery and functions, tissues which represent a collective organization of cells, and systems biology which concerns intricate inter- actions between different biological entities starting from single molecules to cells and tissues, right up to organs and whole organisms.

An essential part of the mission of the Institute of Complex Systems is the interdisciplinary education of graduate students at the interface between physics, chemistry and biology. Here, the International Helmholtz Research School on Biophysics and Soft Matter (IHRS BioSoft) provides graduate education and training, with a programme of introductory and advanced lectures, seminars, lab courses, retreats, and transferable skills courses. More information is provided at