Welcome to Softbites!

Softbites brings you digestible summaries of the latest research in soft matter.

If you have a soft spot for the science of bubbles, liquid crystals and other squishy materials you might have heard of soft matter! If you have not, this branch of physics is a fascinating interdisciplinary field studying various kinds of materials from gels to biological systems. They all share the fact that they are soft, which means they are not exactly solid nor liquid. For instance, if you poke a bit of foam, it will resist like a solid at short times, but it will flow at longer times.

Read our posts to find out more about soft matter!

Recent posts

Check out our latest posts!

We write about colloids, gels, biomechanics and many other squishy subjects! We are inspired by the most recent papers and the classics as well.

2019 MRSEC Brandeis Microfluidics summer course

If you just landed on Softbites for the first time, you probably have not had the chance to read our previous posts about microfluidics (like this one, or that one, and more). If this field of science is foreign to you, all you need to know is that it studies how fluids flow at really small scales (typically tens to hundreds of micrometers). For instance, you can quickly generate tiny droplets of a solution, turning each droplet into an individual “reactor”. Or you can create microenvironments with precisely controlled chemical concentrations to grow cells in different conditions.

Switching miscibility: How to make polymer blends mix with electricity

Many consumer products, such as clothes and food packaging, are made of blends of polymers, long molecules consisting of repeating chemical units. The attractiveness of using blends of different polymers arises from the engineers’ desire to combine multiple unique properties of each individual polymer, such as transparency, stretchability, and breathability, into a seamless whole. However, different polymers are not necessarily miscible, a term scientists use to describe whether two materials mix at the molecular level. Miscibility isn’t a one-and-done kind of deal: scientists and engineers have known for years how to make polymer blends mix by careful temperature control. What if there were conditions other than temperature to achieve polymer blend miscibility? This may ultimately help in industrial processing of polymer blends. In this week’s paper, Professors Annika Kriisa and Connie B. Roth from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, explore the mixing dynamics of two polymers by using a strong electric field.

Mechanism of Contact between a Droplet and an Atomically Smooth Substrate

When an experiment doesn’t behave the way we expect, either our understanding of the relevant physics is flawed, or the phenomenon is more complicated than it appears. When a theoretical prediction is off by two orders of magnitude – like what was observed in this recent paper by Hua Yung Lo, Yuan Liu, and Lei Xu of the Chinese University of Hong Kong – something is seriously wrong.

Who are we?

Softbites is run by a group of young scientists who want to attract a wider audience to the beautiful world of soft matter.

We are Ph.D. students and postdocs from all over the world. Writing for Softbites is a way of sharing our passion for soft matter. We would especially love to attract younger students to research by explaining fascinating research papers, which are often technical and intimidating for people outside the field.

Meet the team!

Annie Stephenson

Harvard University


Cambridge

Annie Stephenson
Managing editor

Annie’s posts

Author since: 9/2017

Arthur Michaut

Harvard Medical School


Boston

Arthur Michaut
Founder & Webmaster

Arthur’s posts

Author since: 9/2017

Colm Kelleher

Harvard University


Cambridge

Colm Kelleher
Managing editor

Colm’s posts

Author since: 9/2017

Foteini Delisavva

Charles University


Prague

Foteini Delisavva
Publicity manager

Foteini’s posts

Author since: 1/2018

Rob Campbell

OIST


Onna-son

Rob Campbell
Style manager

Rob’s posts

Author since: 3/2018

and also our former team members!

Meet the authors!

If you fell in love with a specific field of research while you were reading some posts on Softbites, feel free to get in touch with the author to ask more questions.

Our official Softbites authors, who monthly write for us:

Danny Seara

Yale University


New Haven

Danny Seara
Also Style manager!

Danny’s posts

Author since: 2/2018

Emily Riley

DTU


Copenhagen

Emily Riley

Emily’s posts

Author since: 3/2018

Olga Shishkov

Georgia Tech


Atlanta

Olga Shishkov

Olga’s posts

Author since: 1/2018

Adam Fortais

McMaster University


Hamilton

Adam Fortais

Adam’s posts

Author since: 5/2018

Youngah (Karen) Kwon

Columbia University


New York

Youngah (Karen) Kwon

Karen’s posts

Author since: 12/2018

Our guest Softbites authors, who occasionally write for us:

Christine Middleton

New York University


New York City

Christine Middleton

Christine’s posts

Author since: 1/2018

Koushik S.

Raman Research Institute


Bangalore

Koushik S.

Koushik’s posts

Author since: 2/2018

Alex Klotz

MIT


Cambridge

Alex Klotz

Alex’s posts

Author since: 2/2018

Debayan

Center for Nanoscience


Bangalore

Debayan

Debayan’s posts

Author since: 3/2018

Kyle Baldwin

Max Planck Institute


Göttingen

Kyle Baldwin

Kyle’s posts

Author since: 5/2018

Bill K. Wheatle

University of Texas


Austin

Bill K. Wheatle

Bill’s posts

Author since: 8/2018

Matthieu Martin

Université Grenoble

Grenoble

Matthieu Martin

Matthieu’s posts

Author since: 9/2018

Mauricio Gomez

CSU


Fullerton

Mauricio Gomez

Mauricio’s posts

Author since: 9/2018

Gregory Smith

Niels Bohr Institute,


University of Copenhagen

Gregory Smith

Gregory’s posts

Author since: 1/2019

 Where are we from?

Become a writer

If you want to become a Softbites writer, or you just want to get in touch with us, please reach out!

 

 

Our friends

We are proud to be part of the bites family.

The eldest is Astrobites which has been writing about astrophysics since 2010. The concept has been extended to other fields of science through sister websites listed below. Have a look if you’re interested!

astrobites

chembites

evobites

geoscibites

oceanbites

particlebites

Thanks to The Lutetium Project!

Most of the beautiful pictures and videos illustrating this website have been kindly provided by our friends from the Lutetium Project. They run a YouTube channel featuring the connections between art and soft matter. You MUST check them out! Especially this video, which most of the footages illustrating this website have been extracted from.