Physics Colloquium - Autonomous Motility in Soft Active Matter

Event Date: 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Broida 1640

Event Contact: 


Zvonimir Dogic, Brandeis University


The laws of equilibrium statistical mechanics impose severe constraints on the properties of conventional materials assembled from inanimate building blocks. Consequently, such materials cannot exhibit spontaneous motion or perform macroscopic work. Inspired by biological phenomena such Drosophila cytoplasmic streaming, our goal is to develop a new category of soft active materials assembled from the bottom-up using animate, energy-consuming building blocks. Released from the constraints of the equilibrium, such internally driven active gels, liquid crystals and emulsions are able to change-shape, crawl, flow, swim, and exert forces on their boundaries to produce macroscopic work. Active matter can serve as a platform for developing novel applications, testing theoretical models of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and potentially even shedding light on self-organization of living cells.