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.

Totally tubular: Polymer plumbing for tissue engineering

Our bodies rely on many types of tube-shaped organs to transport blood, air, water, food, urine, and feces. These tubular organs are stimuli-responsive: they can constrict or dilate, secrete chemicals, or act as a selective barrier in response to biological signals. Developing synthetic versions of natural tissue structures that mimic biological responses is at the cutting edge of tissue engineering, synthetic organ development, and even soft robotics design. But what materials can be used to grow responsive tubes in the lab?

Real soft bites made by a model tongue to better assess food texture

The texture of food products can be tailored so you feel them as soft or hard in your mouth. The measure of food texture is achieved by using tools like a compression machine with two metallic plates to mimic the compression between your tongue and palate. However, the results from these measurements can disagree with the texture we actually perceive because the bottom metallic plate of the machine does not reproduce the deformability of our tongue. This missclassification is especially dangerous for people with swallowing problems who can only eat soft foods. A team of Japanese researchers developed a test machine with a silicone rubber artificial tongue on the bottom metallic plate to better assess food texture.

“I don’t think there will be a return journey, Mr. Frodo”: how thermodynamic irreversibility makes life flourish

Understanding the origin of life is one of the most enduring and fundamental scientific challenges there is. Of all branches of science, physics is probably not the first place one would think to go to for enlightenment. Life seems too complicated and multi-layered to be captured by the simplistic frameworks of physics. Today’s paper tackles a small part of understanding the origin of life – the physics of self-replication.

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!

Arthur Michaut
Institut Pasteur
Postdoc in biomechanics of embryos
Founder & Webmaster
Read Arthur’s posts

Danny Seara
Yale University
Ph.D. candidate in theoretical biophysics
Managing editor
Read Danny’s posts

Olga Shishkov
University of Colorado Boulder
Postdoc in …
Managing editor
Read Olga’s posts

Andrew Ton
Yale University
Graduate student in active matter
Social Media
Read Andrew’s posts

Heather Hamilton
UMass Amherst
Graduate student in polymer science and engineering
Writer recruiter
Read Heather’s posts

Adam Fortais
McMaster University
PhD candidate in soft mechanics
Newsletter editor
Read Adam’s posts


 Where are we from?

Softbites’ authors write from all over the world!


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!

 

 

Message Sent (go back)

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.

Supporting partners

We are deeply grateful to the American Astronomical Society for hosting our website!

They are long-standing partners of the ScienceBites sites.