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Maryland Hosts Mid-Atlantic Soft Matter Workshop

Maryland Hosts Mid-Atlantic Soft Matter Workshop

Researchers from throughout the region interested in all things "soft and squishy" gathered to share their ideas at the ninth Mid-Atlantic Soft Matter Workshop (MASM 9), held on the University of Maryland, College Park Campus in July 2012. The event provided a casual forum for students, faculty and staff from academia, industry and national laboratories to present their latest results, network, and seek out new collaborations.

A wealth of materials can be classified as "soft matter," including polymers, films, liquid crystals, emulsions, gels, self-assembled structures and systems, cells, tissue, and biomimetic materials. Researchers in the field may be engaged in soft matter's creation, behavioral simulation, manipulation, interfacial properties, biophysics, rheology and hydrodynamics, and replication.

The workshop's goal is to highlight the ways in which scientists from a variety of disciplines—including engineering, biology, chemistry, and physics—approach the study of soft materials and use them in their research. MASM demonstrates how, through a shared interest in soft materials, scientists can discover that their fields and interests may overlap in unexpected ways.

Presentations included formal talks given by invited soft matter experts from regional institutions including Johns Hopkins University, Penn State, the University of Delaware, the University of Maryland, and the University of Pennsylvania. The program also included over 30 three-minute "sound bites," project overviews delivered by undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral research associates.

Clark School professors Robert M. Briber (chair, Department of Materials Science and Engineering) and Srinivasa R. Raghavan (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), College of Mathematical and Natural Sciences professor Wolfgang Losert (Department of Physics) and Georgetown University professor Daniel Blair (Department of Physics) organized the event.

"We had 110 registrants from across the mid-Atlantic region, including faculty and students from the [A. James Clark] School of Engineering and College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, making this one of the largest MASM workshops to date," says Losert.

"MASM 9 was a great success," Briber adds. "We look forward to holding future workshops at Maryland and providing opportunities for researchers working on soft matter in the region to get together and interact."

Support for MASM 9 was provided by the Clark School's Departments of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering, the University of Maryland—National Cancer Institute Partnership for Cancer Technology, and Georgetown University's Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology. The organizing committee thanks the workshop's sponsors, student volunteers and staff who helped make the event possible.

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July 24, 2012

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