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 Origin of Random Forces Inside Cells

Place yourself in a bumper car at a carnival waiting to bump into your friends. Soon enough you hear the small engine of your bumper car start and you begin to move around, bumping into anyone in your way. While the motion of your car is mostly controlled by the steering wheel, random events—like fluctuations in the motor power, your car hitting small bumps on the floor, and other cars hitting you—can affect the motion as well. What if I told you that a cell and its parts function in a similar way? Just as your car is powered by electricity, molecular motors—bio-molecules that can convert chemical energy into mechanical work—power the movement of living organisms by generating forces. In order to produce these forces, molecular motors depend on an organic molecule called ATP.

From errant to coherent motion

Have you ever seen those wide shapes moving in the sky at dawn, made of thousands of starlings, or the swarms of fish swimming in the ocean (see Figure 1)? The ability to organize and move in groups without a leader is called collective motion and has been observed at various spatial scales in the living world, from birds to locusts, cells, and bacteria.

Scaling up biology

The difference between a bacterium and a whale are huge, and not just their size. However, there are hidden scaling laws underlying all living things. These scaling laws are found to be due to the fractal-like nutrient distribution systems. Here, we review how to derive the scaling law for metabolic rate with organism mass, illustrating its generality and ubiquity.

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

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Author since: 9/2017

Arash Manafirad
UMass, Amherst

Arash Manafirad
Recruiting manager & Webmaster

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Author since: 9/2017

Arthur Michaut
Harvard Medical School, Boston

Arthur Michaut
Founder & Webmaster

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Author since: 9/2017

Colm Kelleher
Harvard University, Cambridge

Colm Kelleher
Managing editor

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Author since: 9/2017

Foteini Delisavva
Charles University, Prague

Foteini Delisavva
Publicity manager

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Author since: 1/2018

Gilad Kaufman
Yale University, New Haven

Gilad Kaufman
Reviewer

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Author since: 9/2017

Rob Campbell
OIST, Onna-son

Rob Campbell
Style manager

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Author since: 3/2018

Sanja
Forschungszentrum, Jülich

Sanja
Publicity manager

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Author since: 2/2018

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!

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Author since: 2/2018

Emily Riley
DTU, Copenhagen

Emily Riley

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Author since: 3/2018

Olga Shishkov
Georgia Tech, Atlanta

Olga Shishkov

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Author since: 1/2018

Our guest Softbites authors, who occasionally write for us:

Christine Middleton
New York University, New York City

Christine Middleton

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Author since: 1/2018

Koushik S.
Raman Research Institute, Bangalore

Koushik S.

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Author since: 2/2018

Alex Klotz
MIT, Cambridge

Alex Klotz

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Author since: 2/2018

Debayan
Center for Nanoscience, Bangalore

Debayan

Read Debayan’s recent posts
Author since: 3/2018

Adam Fortais
McMaster University, Hamilton

Adam Fortais

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Author since: 5/2018

Kyle Baldwin
Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen

Kyle Baldwin

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Author since: 5/2018

Bill K. Wheatle
The University of Texas, Austin

Bill K. Wheatle

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Author since: 8/2018

Matthieu Martin
Université Grenoble Alpes, France

Matthieu Martin

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Author since: 9/2018

Mauricio Gomez
CSU Fullerton

Mauricio Gomez

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Author since: 9/2018

 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.