Active Systems: From Liquid Crystals to Living Systems

When: Friday, October 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm
Where: DA 114
Speaker: Luca Giomi
Organization: School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
Sponsor: Joint Physics and Math Seminar

Colonies of motile microorganisms, the cytoskeleton and its components, cells and tissues have much in common with soft condensed matter systems (i.e. liquid crystals, amphiphiles, colloids etc.), but also exhibit behaviors that do not appear in inanimate matter and that are crucial for biological functions.

These unique properties arise when the constituent particles are active: they consume energy from internal and external sources and dissipate it by moving through the medium they inhabit. In this talk I will give a brief introduction to the notion of “active matter” and present some recent results on the hydrodynamics of active nematics suspensions in two dimensions.