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Prof. An-Chang Shi

McMaster University

Date of Live Presentation: Mon, 17-Jun-2024
Location: Trent University


Soft Matter: Where Physics Meets Chemistry and Biology


What do plastics, pharmaceuticals, foodstuff and biomaterials have in common? They are all soft matter! Besides their softness, one of the most intriguing properties of soft matter is their ability to self-assemble into complex structures with ordering over many length scales, or hierarchically ordered structures. Understanding the principles governing the self-assembly of hierarchically structured soft materials is paramount to advanced material technology and, more importantly, to biological organisms because we are the perfect example of complex self-assembly. Traditionally, soft matter is a research area populated by chemists and biologists, emphasizing the synthesis and characterization of these materials. Since middle 70's, many physicists turned their attentions to this important area of research, bringing with them the insights from physics. The infusion of physics ideas into soft matter research has led to many progresses. At the same time, many new physical concepts and ideas emerge from soft matter research. My lecture starts with a brief survey of soft condensed matter and its physical properties, and ends with some of our recent studies in this fascinating research area.

Short bio

An-Chang Shi is a professor of physics at McMaster University. He received his B.Sc. in physics from Fudan University in 1982 and his Ph.D. in physics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1988. From 1988 to 1892 he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow and Research Associate at McMaster University. He joined Xerox Research Centre of Canada as a Member of Research Staff in 1992 and moved to McMaster University as an Associate Professor in 1999. He was promoted to Professor in 2004. He received a Premier's Research Excellent Award in 2000 and was elected to Fellow of American Physical Society in 2010. His has worked on a wide range of topics in condensed matter physics, including crystal shapes, superconductivity and soft matter theory. His current research focuses on the development of theory for polymeric system, the investigation of phase diagrams of block copolymers, and the study of kinetic pathways of transitions between stable and metastable phases.

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