Tim Atherton, PI of the soft matter theory group, today gave a public talk as part of the “Pint of Science” festival here in Boston. Entitled “Ice Cream, Soap and TVs: The Science of Soft Materials”, the talk focussed on how inside everyday things such as soaps, food products, mayonnaise, liquid crystal displays—referred to as “soft matter”—lurks the beautiful mathematics of geometry and topology. These determine how the micro- and nano-scopic components of the system arrange themselves, giving materials valuable properties like stability, texture and the ability to guide light. In his talk, Tim unravelled these connections to show how fundamental physics helps us design new materials to benefit our lives.
To give audience members a first-hand experience with soft matter, our friends at local business Gelology brought a delicious selection of jello treats to try. Gelology founder Matt Micari has got a lot of media attention for his remarkable creations, and the audience got to hear a bit about the science behind jello as an example of a hydrogel.
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