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.

Small structures, Big facilities

I am writing this as I embark on a journey from Copenhagen to Chicago for a 24-hour experiment. Luckily, I am going to be in the city longer than I will be flying, but only just. Traveling over 4,000 miles may seem like a long way to go for an experiment, and it is. I perform small-angle scattering experiments for a living though, and sometimes this is just what needs to be done. My previous post on Softbites was all about the fundamentals of X-ray and neutron scattering, but I didn’t give an indication of what an experiment is actually like. This post focuses on the practicalities. What are the experimental facilities like? What do you have to do to access them?

The dance of swarming flies

Imagine yourself as a small fly called a midge (shown in Figure 1a). You used to live in a lake as a small larva with no concerns in life except swimming, eating, and growing. One day, you hid underwater and formed a cocoon around your body as it developed wings, legs, and antennae. A few days later, you swam to the surface and burst out of your cocoon as an adult fly — a male. As a new adult male, you find the clock ticking – you have only a few days to find a mate before you die.

Mighty-Morphin’ Magnetic Materials

If we could shrink a submarine down to the microscopic scale, could we pilot it into the human body to fight infection and perform surgery? Despite suggestions from futuristic sci-fi such as “Fantastic Voyage”, “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”, “The Magic School Bus”, “Power Rangers”, and “Rick and Morty”, we cannot survive such shrinking and our vessel would be without a pilot. But it may still be possible to “shrink” down some of our technology and control it remotely as we will see from researchers at MIT in this week’s paper.

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
Georgia Tech
Atlanta

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 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

envirobites_logo.jpg

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.