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Soft Matter | Statistical Physics | Fluid Mechanics

Assistant professor James W. Swan

MIT, Department of Chemical Engineering

We investigate the structure and dynamics of soft matter and the distinctive roles of non-conservative (hydrodynamic) and conservative (thermodynamic) forces in determining the mechanical properties of functional materials. We use of theory and simulation to make predictions of novel physical phenomena in soft matter with the goal of directing engineering applications and elucidating physical experiments. This requires a combination simple physical reasoning and sophisticated mathematical and computational analysis. We have studied intricate and relevant problems ranging from the flow of complex fluids to the precise measurement of biophysical forces. Below are some particle based simulations that run in your browser. Enjoy these examples techniques we might employ:

In February 2020, all the members of the Swan lab collaborated to draft the following statement of scientific values and professional expectations defining our roles as engineers and colleagues at MIT:

We are a research laboratory that values curiosity and the exploration of scientific and engineering topics ranging from the ordinary to the sublime. We value objectivity, open-mindedness, attention to detail, integrity, and productivity realized by hard work. We affirm a respect for the individual and recognize a collective obligation to create a welcoming environment for scholarship. We seek to foster our professional and personal growth through collaboration and open conversation with our colleagues.

Recent news

Congratulations to Gang Wang for a successful thesis defense!

Kevin Silmore wins 2017 Molecular Physics Early Career Researcher Prize

James Swan wins Outstanding Faculty Award again

Congratulations to Zsigmond Varga for a successful thesis defense!

Zsigmond Varga wins ACS Colloids Student Award

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