Tunneling is a supreme quantum effect. Every introductory text [1] on quantum mechanics gives the paradigm example of a particle tunneling through a one-dimensional potential barrier despite having a total energy less than the barrier height. Indeed, the reader typically works through a number of exercises, all involving one-dimensional potential barriers of one form or another modeling several key physical phenomena ranging from atom transfer reactions to the decay of α-particles [2]. However, one seldom encounters coupled multidimenisonal tunneling in such texts since an analytical solution of the Schro¨dinger equation in such cases is not possible. Interestingly, the richness and complexity of the tunneling phenomenon manifest themselves in full glory in the case of multidimensional systems [3]. Thus, for instance, the usual one-dimensional expectation of increasing tunneling splittings as one approaches the barrier top from below is not necessarily true as soon as one couples another bound degree of freedom to the tunneling coordinate. In the context of molecular reaction dynamics, multidimensional tunneling can result in strong mode-specificity and fluctuations in the reaction rates [4]. In fact, a proper description of tunneling of electrons and hydrogen atoms is absolutely essential [5,6] even in molecular systems as large as enzymes and proteins. Although one usually assumes tunneling effects to be significant in molecules involving light atom transfers, it is worth pointing out that neglecting the tunneling of even a heavy atom like carbon is the difference between a reaction occurring or not occurring. In particular, one can underestimate rates by nearly hundred orders of magnitude [7]. Interestingly, and perhaps paradoxically, several penetrating insights into the nature and mechanism of multidimensional barrier tunneling have been obtained from a phase-space perspective [8,9]. The contributions by Creagh, Shudo and Ikeda, and

Takahashi in the present volume provide a detailed account of the latest advances in the phasespace-based understanding of multidimensional barrier tunneling.