Lindenberg, Katja
Theoretical chemical physics: non-equilibrium statistical mechanics; stochastic processes; nonlinear phenomena; complex systems; condensed matter.

Contact Information
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
BioCircuits Institute

Office: Urey Hall 3202
Phone: 858-534-3285
Group: View group members
1967 Ph.D., Cornell University
1962 B.A., Alfred University
1969-present , UCSD
1969 , Postdoc, University of Rochester
Awards and Academic Honors
UCSD Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award
Research Interests
Statistical mechanics is a "language of science" that can be applied to many different problems. Our interests lie in developing this language in the context of different generic questions. Our work spans a broad range of topics in non-equilibrium statistical mechanics,nonlinear physical and chemical systems, dynamical processes in granular materials, and reaction-diffusion models. A few examples follow.

The localization and transport of energy in nonlinear media, and associated questions involving signal propagation and transmission of information, are essential for the successful operation of systems on a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Examples range from molecular biopolymers to surfaces and to granular materials. We focus on the formulation of microscopic or mesoscopic mechanisms to explain observed behavior and exploit parameter control for desired designed behavior.

Pattern formation and synchronization and, more generally, the spontaneous occurrence of order in thermodynamically open systems, are ubiquitous phenomena. Patterns can be spatial (the stripes on a zebra), temporal (circadian rhythms or the flashing of fireflies), or spatio-temporal (chemical oscillations in excitable media, or the appearance of dynamical patterns in bilayers or the mechanical oscillations in granular beds). Of particular interest to us are noisy systems, including those in which one observes noise-induced ordering phenomena.

Chemical reactions in which mixing is diffusion- or subdiffusion limited often do not follow the usual kinetic rules. In constrained geometries such as wires, capillaries, surfaces, polymers, cells, and fractal structures, reactions are profoundly affected by system geometry and connectivity. The effects are seen not only in the kinetic laws but also in the spatial evolution that may involve species aggregation and segregation and unstable fronts.

Primary Research Area
Physical/Analytical Chemistry
Interdisciplinary interests
Computational and Theoretical

Outreach Activities
I do a great deal of one-on-one mentoring in a number of scenarios (I am recognized on campus for the variety of my activities in this regard).

In my undergraduate classes: I work closely with under-represented students, especially Hispanic students (I am Hispanic) in helping them plan their future, face their current problems if any, explore learning strategies, help with applications to graduate programs and selection of such programs, advice concerning placement in research laboratories on campus.

Among graduate students: I have worked closely with many underrepresented (often female) graduate students in my department in helping them over their hurdles and planning the future. I see myself as a helpful role model in this activity. My connection with these students typically extends far beyond their graduate student days.

Among young faculty I do a great deal of mentoring, again especially among female (the numbers in the sciences are still so very low) and other underrepresented groups. I do this as an official Faculty Mentor and also very widely in an unofficial capacity.

I am an active participant in the yearly meetings of the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers. I have participated in judging work, advising participants about managing life as a professional and especially as a female professional, about how to navigate the professional waters.

I am invited to participate in a variety of events as a female role model with a successful academic career and a successful family. This dichotomy is of great concern to many young women, who need to hear if and how it is possible.
Image Gallery

Typical spatial patterns in two-component deformable reactive bilayers.

Purely noise-induced spatio-temporal oscillatory structure (limit cycle) in a two-field relaxational system.

Selected Publications