John Venables' Current Projects (2007)
This file contains an informal list of what John Venables is
up to, professionally that is. The people mentioned by name have had a
copy of this document.
Version 12th July 2007.
- I have been teaching Surfaces and Thin Films
as a web-based course at ASU, over the past several years, most recently in Spring 2007.
This material, plus some review articles, form the basis of a graduate teaching text
Introduction to Surface and Thin Film Processes, published by Cambridge University
Press (2000). This book is open to the web, both
via an appendix containing Web based resources and
section by section updates.
Both resources can be used with this text and/or the
- My assigned teaching for Spring 2007 was a one-semester graduate
Quantum Physics class
at ASU, which also has a web-based component, though optional in this case.
The idea is that, in addition to normal homework assignments, students can
do projects which result in web pages so that the whole class can benefit.
Over the last few years, there have been several useful projects of this form. I followed
this up at Sussex with a course
Quantum Mechanical Models of Solids, in
collaboration with Edward Hernández and Malcolm Heggie. We gave students
exposure to real computing in 1999 and 2000. It has been given most years since,
with help from Malcolm's post-docs and senior students, most recently Irene Suarez-Martinez.
The most recent version was given in
Fall 2005, which is also available
on my ASU site.
- I have incorporated this interest in web-based teaching and learning
into on-line colloquia, and some of these are published as articles.
The shells of these talks can be inspected, and the links followed,
from my graduate index.
- I am contributing to some collaborations involving nucleation and
growth studies, based on the models developed over the years, and
including new developments, for example to defect induced nucleation.
These are built around (relatively simple) programs which enable island
densities, etc to be interpreted. Most recently, I have been exploring the use of
efficient Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) and Master Equation Discretization (MED)
techniques for solving 2-dimensional diffusion equations, in visual models of
epitaxial growth that complement rate equations.
A list of recent papers is given here.
- There is still a lot of work to do on these nucleation and growth models,
and I am currently seeing how they can be extended to situations relevant to the
hot topics of pattern formation and nanofabrication. In parallel, I am
attempting to learn some 'newer' programming languages, e.g. F90, MatLab,
some material which is more user-friendly, amenable to student projects, and in
some cases more compatible with web-based presentation of results. However, this
could seriously use up one's whole life...; in other words, this project is ongoing.
- I was pleased to receive an honorary degree from
the Université de la Mediterannée in November 2001. Some details of joint
publications with the CRMC2-CNRS are given
here. I was equally gratified by the award of
Fellowship by the American Physical Society in November 2002.
- The Gordon Research Conference on
Thin Film and Crystal Growth Mechanisms was held recently from June 24-29, 2007 at
Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts. I am currently maintaining the historical
web pages, which you
can consult for further details.