The Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems was established in 1991 by a multi-million dollar grant through the NSF CREST program, although the center has received funding from other federal and state agencies, and the private sector. Research at the CTSPS is conducted through a dynamic clustering of researchers in the areas of atomic and molecular theory, and condensed matter, mathematical physics/applied mathematics, and wavelet analysis and multidimensional signal processing. Some of the strengths of this center include simulation and modeling, low-energy scattering theory, solid-state theory, image processing, and mathematical physics theory.
CTSPS has extensive research partnerships and collaborations to conduct cutting edge research at CAU, and has established a mechanism to educate and produce African-American M.S. and Ph.D. students in STEM fields. Several CSTPS graduate students have completed Ph.D.s at major research universities such as Rice University, Georgia Tech, University of Michigan and University of Maryland. CSTPS has numerous collaborations domestically and abroad with premier research institutions such as Harvard University, University of California-Berkeley, MIT, Stanford, University of Benin, ICTP (Italy), the African Laser Centre (Pretoria), and iThemba Labs (South Africa). CSTPS is an active member of the African Laser Centre which is a virtual center of excellence and one of the strongest combinations of human and physical infrastructure for science in Africa that links scientists and laser facilities in six African nations. In addition, CSTPS attracts noteworthy visiting scientists and graduate students globally to strengthen and impact its diverse research capability, and further strengthen these partnerships. Recently, CSTPS co-organized with Caltech and African Laser Centre the first US-African Institute on Photon Interactions (Durban) and with iThemba Labs the Nanosciences Workshop (Cape Town). CTSPS also collaborates with the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, which is supported by the U.S. DOE, and the Queen’s University of Belfast, UK for access to supercomputers for simulation and modeling research activities. High school minority students and teachers have been impacted by the outreach activities of CTSPS such as Peer Tutorial program, Summer Research Apprenticeship program, and the Summer Enrichment and Summer Transportation Institute programs. CTSPS, characterized by excellent researchers, continues to publish in peer reviewed journals and attract funding for basic research.