Linda S. Hirst
Director of News and Social Media
In between liquid and solid, there's a kind of matter that we see much more than we realize. Soft matter includes everything from gels to rubber to most of the human body. That means understanding soft matter is important for human health as well as for technology applications like liquid crystal display, or LCD monitors.
Professor Linda Hirst specializes in soft matter physics as it's applied in human health, materials science and technology. She studies how soft matter is assembled and how it changes under different conditions such as heating or cooling.
For example, one current project examines how cholesterol and Omega-3s interact in cell membranes. Another project addresses protein filament assembly – using the protein F-actin as inspiration for potential new gels based on similar semiflexible networks. Hirst also works on new materials for liquid crystal applications.
Hirst can comment on the emergence of soft matter physics as an important field for biological and technological applications, as well as the workings of Omega-3s and cholesterol in cell membranes and how LCDs work on a molecular level.
For more information on soft matter, you can read up at Hirst’s non-profit website, softmatterworld.org.