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Topological Soft Matter

Event description

Soft materials and complex fluids are a fundamental component of modern industry and everyday life. The majority of the materials around us are made by chemical or physical crosslinking of linear polymers. However, a growing number of groups are exploring an entirely new class of materials with unique properties governed by their topology. Examples of these are chemical knots and weavings, slide-ring gels, Olympic gels, DNA origami and mesoscopic topological metamaterials. In 2016, the Nobel prize in Chemistry was given for the discovery of molecular machines and the realization of topologically complex molecules which are now being employed to create the next generation of smart materials.

At this moment in time, the field of topological materials is split in four distinct and isolated communities: polymer physics, synthetic chemistry, DNA nanotechnology and mesoscale metamaterials. To fully unravel the potential of topology in technological applications, we believe that these distinct communities need to be brought together to establish a common language and framework. This meeting is therefore a timely and much needed opportunity to gather leading experts in the field of topological soft materials to start breaking down the barriers between communities. By opening the dialogue between researchers doing experiments, theory and simulations, we will create fertile ground for new collaborations in this exciting emerging field bridging polymer physics, chemistry, biology and engineering.

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Topological Soft Matter


Higgs Centre Seminar Room, JCMB (Find us on campus maps)
The Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics
School of Physics and Astronomy
James Clerk Maxwell Building, 4305
Peter Guthrie Tait Road


Key speakers

  • Erika EISER (Cambridge)
  • Myfawny EVANS (Potsdam)
  • David LEIGH (Manchester)
  • Elisabetta MATSUMOTO (Georgia Tech)
  • Davide MICHIELETTO (Edinburgh)
  • Nathan OLDENHUIS (University of New Hampshire)
  • Takahiro SAKAUE (Aoyama Gakuin University)
  • Andela SARIC (ISTA)
  • Francesco SCIORTINO (Sapienza)
  • Luca TUBIANA (University of Trento)


COSTS Conference fee to be confirmed