On Tuesday 1 November 2022 the event called “Ämnets dag” took place at the university of Gothenburg.
The event is aimed to physics and science teachers at different school levels working in the Gothenburg area. Laura Natali joined the initiative and organised one of the workshops available. The activity prepared was an introductory class to simulations modelling active matter.
The workshop addressed the basic aspects of active matter and some examples of its relevant applications nowadays. The focus was on a hands-on workshop, to try out simulations and give a qualitative idea of active behaviour and the effect of different parameters on it. Next to the simulated active particles, it was also possible to play with Hexbugs a simple robotic example of active matter.
Between the 2nd and the 4th of June, David was invited to the YM Leadership meeting in Paris to present the outreach activities carried out by the student chapter in Messina. After three years of virtual engagement the meeting brought together almost 50 YM delegates from 20 different countries as well as many interested students and young researchers from outside of the YM network, making it a great success.
Beyond the programme of the LM the co-location with the EPS Forum, allowed the participants to learn about industrial opportunities and to attend lectures from world-class researchers, including 3 Nobel Laureates. Scientific outreach, cultural exchange, and peaceful international collaboration are more important than ever. Bringing young scientists together and equipping them with tools and skills is a great way of fostering these aspects.
On the 21st of January 2022, Chun-Jen gave a talk at Institute of Physics, Academia Sinica (Taipei, Taiwan) with title “Collective response of microrobotic swarms to external threats”. Chun-Jen shared and discussed about his most recent scientific work, which involves active Janus colloids and animal collective behaviours, with researchers and students of several fields, including biophysics, soft-matter, and surface/nano science.
On Tuesday 2 November 2021 the Ämnets dag took place at the university of Gothenburg.
At the Ämnets dag, different high-school teachers of physics and science were given the chance to attend different workshops dealing with lines of research inside the Physics department. Laura Natali and Jesus Manuel Antunez Dominguez joined the initiative and prepared an introductory class to simulations modelling active matter.
The workshop addressed the basic aspects of active matter and some examples of its relevant applications nowadays. Overall, the focus of the workshop was to bring closer some of the main characteristics of active matter through interactive simulations that give a qualitative idea of active behaviour and the effect of different parameters on it.
On the 5th of May 2021, David gave an outreach talk to last year’s high school students at Liceo Archimede in Messina. The talk, titled “Le macchine che imparano”, discussed the past, present, and future of artificial intelligence and provided the students with the basic tools to create their own machine learning models. Besides, aiming to bring science closer to the local community, an example of how machine learning is currently being used by researchers in Messina was explained.
On the 25th of February 2021, Chun-Jen gave a talk at the Institute of Physics, Academia Sinica (Taipei, Taiwan) about his research project at University of Konstanz. He explained how active Janus micro-spheres can be propelled and steered at the indivitual level in his experiment system and how such experiments are linked to studies of collective behaviours in living systems. The talk induced vivid discussions with audience of different backgrounds. Chun-Jen also shared experiences regarding PhD life in Germany with prospective young researchers in Taiwan.
It is increasingly becoming apparent that the physical concepts of forces and flows play an important role in understanding biological processes, from the spread of cancers to morphogenesis, thedevelopment of organisms. However, biological systems, such as cells, probe new ideas in that theyoperate out of thermodynamic equilibrium continually taking chemical energy from their surroundings, and using it to move and self-organise.
The term active matter has come to describe models of living systems where such a continuous influx of energy leads to striking collective behaviour like the chaotic flow patterns of active turbulence seen in collections of bacteria and self-propelled topological defects which are now thought to be relevant to some modes of biofilm formation. This paper is a numerical investigation of three-dimensional droplets composed of active matter and the ways in which their shapes change in response to the continuous input of energy. One striking observation is the continuous formation of finger-like protrusions, reminiscent of the collective motion of invading cancer cells. By changing the mechanical properties of the drop or the activity level, we find several different dynamical responses: for example the droplet surface can wrinkle in a way that resembles a walnut or the active forces can drive a dimple in the droplet to grow, leading to a cup-shape: such invagination is reminiscent of patterns seen during morphogenesis.
Understanding the behaviour of model systems, here a continuum model of active material, is an important step towards the goal of understanding the role of physical theories in the life sciences.