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Soft Matter Physics of Cells

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  • UserProfessor Athene Donald (Department of Physics, Cambridge)
  • ClockThursday 16 November 2006, 14:45-15:15
  • HouseKaetsu Centre, New Hall.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Duncan Simpson.

The Structure of Living Matter

Soft matter physics deals with systems in which the thermal energy is comparable with interaction energies and the energies giving rise to distortion. This means that Brownian motion and fluctuations are very important. Cells certainly fit this description, and their ability to alter their shape is crucial to our ability to survive. However, the description also applies to the cell contents, a complex mix of many polymeric components packed at rather high density. Despite this complexity, many of the standard tools of soft matter physics – both experimental and theoretical – can be applied to help analyse and characterise the structure of living matter. In this talk I will concentrate on two very different approaches: environmental scanning electron microscopy as a probe of hydrated systems without the need for the standard lengthy sample preparation routes conventionally applied; and particle tracking to explore local variations in microrheology and environment within the cell contents.

This talk is part of the Physics of Living Matter PLM6 series.

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