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.

The trajectories of pointy intruders in sand

An alien spaceship commander was preparing to drop a cone-shaped spy shuttle into the sand of a Florida beach near Cape Canaveral. The shuttle needed to burrow deep enough that any passing humans wouldn’t see it while the aliens used it to spy on Earth’s space program. “From how high should I drop the shuttle so that it is hidden?” the commander asked their science advisor. The science advisor pulled out their alien high school mechanics book, hoping to calculate this based on the laws of motion and Earth’s gravitational force.

Supersoft matter bounces back: Softer, Better, Stronger

If you’ve ever worn soft contact lenses, you may know that they dry out and harden if they are not stored in a solution. This pervasive issue of hydrogel materials occurs when the solvent leaks or evaporates, affecting their mechanical properties. In this week’s post, polymer scientists develop super-soft dry elastomers (very elastic or rubbery polymers) that surpass the softness and elasticity of hydrogels, all without getting their hands wet.

For the People, By the People: Early career researchers organize virtual polymer physics symposium

In these unprecedented and fluid times, conferences and symposia have gone virtual as STEM collectively settles into a new normal. Many large meetings, like the formerly “in-person only” American Physical Society (APS) and American Chemical Society (ACS) national meetings, have been cancelled or transitioned to virtual-only participation this year. The 2021 Spring APS meeting will go virtual as well. I love big in-person meetings and have shied away from virtual alternatives thinking they would not provide the same feeling of community with my fellow scientists. However, the isolation of quarantine and the desire to get comfortable with the “new normal” motivated me to step out of my comfort zone and into the world of virtual science meetings this summer. So, when the opportunity to attend the 2020 Virtual Polymer Physics Symposium (VPPS) arose in July, I jumped at the chance to participate.

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 Softbites team!

Annie Stephenson
Harvard University
Cambridge

Managing editor
Read Annie’s posts
Author since: 9/2017


Danny Seara
Yale University
New Haven

Style manager
Read Danny’s posts
Author since: 2/2018

Arthur Michaut
Harvard Medical School
Boston

Founder & Webmaster
Read Arthur’s posts
Author since: 9/2017


Foteini Delisavva
Charles University
Prague

Publicity manager
Read Foteini’s posts
Author since: 1/2018

Colm Kelleher
Harvard University
Cambridge

Managing editor
Read Colm’s posts
Author since: 9/2017


Rob Campbell
OIST
Onna-son

Style manager
Read Rob’s posts
Author since: 3/2018

and we don’t forget our former team members!

Meet the authors!

Our official Softbites authors regularly write for us. If you are specifically interested in one of their posts, feel free to get in touch with them to ask more questions.

Adam Fortais
McMaster University
Hamilton

Read Adam’s posts
Author since: 5/2018


Youngah (Karen) Kwon
Columbia University
New York

Read Karen’s posts
Author since: 12/2018

Emily Riley
DTU
Copenhagen

Read Emily’s posts
Author since: 3/2018


Olga Shishkov
University of Colorado Boulder

Read Olga’s posts
Author since: 1/2018


We also have contributions from guest authors.


 Where are we from?

Softbites is a world-wide collaboration!


How do we work?

Softbites is a peer-reviewed science communication blog. Each of our posts is managed by an editor who sends it to a team of reviewers (a content reviewer and a style reviewer). Our goal is to make sure the original article has been faithfully presented. We also want to provide our authors and reviewers with a science publishing experience. We are happy to share with you our style guide, if you want to dig more into our writing organization!

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 ScienceBites galaxy.

Following the concept developed by Astrobites since 2010, other ScienceBites sites write bite-sized science posts. You should definitely check them out!

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.