Active materials such as bacteria, molecular motors and self-propelled colloids are Nature’s engines. They extract energy from their surroundings at a single particle level and use this to do work. Active matter is becoming an increasingly popular area of research because it provides a testing ground for the ideas of non-equilibrium statistical physics, because of its relevance to the collective behaviour of living creatures, from cells to starlings, and because of its potential in designing nanomachines. Dense active matter shows mesoscale turbulence, the emergence of chaotic flow structures characterised by high vorticity and self-propelled topological defects. I will discuss the physics of defects in active materials and describe examples where the concepts of active matter are starting to be used to describe cell sorting, motility and morphogenesis.
Julia Yeomans is Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford. She obtained her MA and DPhil in Physics from Oxford and then spent two years as a post-doc at Cornell University. She returned to the UK, as a Lecturer at the University of Southampton, before joining the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics. Julia applies techniques from theoretical and computational physics to problems in soft condensed matter and biophysics. Her current research interests include active matter and mechanobiology. She has been awarded the EPJE-de Gennes Lecture Prize and the Sam Edwards prize of the Institute of Physics and she is a Fellow of the Royal Society. Julia has four daughters and enjoys hiking and orienteering.
Affiliation of the Speaker :
The Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics, Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford, UK.