Tufts University announced today that Soft Matter Theory PI Tim Atherton was one of four faculty members who earned 2017 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Atherton received a five-year $484,584 award to investigate how jamming – a transition to rigidity that occurs in soft materials – is altered when it occurs in a system that is changing shape, such as on a fluid droplet or an elastic body. The project aims to expand knowledge of this phenomenon, which is relevant to applications that exploit shape, including soft robotics, drug delivery systems, actuators, and artificial muscles. In addition to the scientific component, the project closely integrates an education and outreach plan that is built around the theme of computation, including summer programs for underrepresented Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) students and a jamming video game for high school students and the general public.

These NSF awards are the most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.

More information and the official award description can be found on the NSF awards database.


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