Towards Living Synthetic Matter

11 March 2021
12:30
Michael Brenner

Further Information: 

This final OCIAM seminar of the term takes place slightly later than usual at 12:30 

Abstract

Biological systems provide an inspiration for creating a new paradigm
for materials synthesis. What would it take to enable inanimate material
to acquire the properties of living things? A key difference between
living and synthetic materials is that the former are programmed to
behave as they do, through interactions, energy consumption and so
forth. The nature of the program is the result of billions of years of
evolution. Understanding and emulating this program in materials that
are synthesizable in the lab is a grand challenge. At its core is an
optimization problem: how do we choose the properties of material
components that we can create in the lab to carry out complex reactions?
I will discuss our (not-yet-terribly-successful efforts)  to date to
address this problem, by designing both equiliibrium and kinetic 
properties of materials, using a combination of statistical mechanics,
kinetic modeling and ideas from machine learning.

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  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar