Active Matter in Action: From Phantom Traffic Jams to Programmable Biomaterials

From cells and tissues in our body to fish schools in the Atlantic, active matter appears around us in various shapes and sizes.  This talk will focus on two examples of active systems from Dr. Vikrant Yadav's research: traffic jams, and driven microtubule networks.

From cells and tissues in our body to fish schools in the Atlantic, active matter appears around us in various shapes and sizes. The physics of active matter has evolved into an extremely active field of research in last few years. Active particles can consume energy from their environment to move, interact and even grow. These non-equilibrium driven systems show dynamics that are unlikely or impossible in passive thermodynamic systems. In this talk I'll discuss two examples of active systems from my research: traffic jams, and driven microtubule networks. For the first part of the talk, I'll show how active granular particles can be used to create and study a miniature traffic jam in lab. For the second part, I'll talk about how we use local interactions among microtubules to create a global extensile or contractile state.

Dr. Vikrant Yadav

Vikrant Yadav is a postdoctoral fellow in physics by day and a serial entrepreneur by night. He currently works in lab of Prof. Jennifer Ross in Dept. of Physics at University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he studies active matter using microtubules as a model system. He studied physics at Indian Institute of Technology before moving to US for graduate studies. During his graduate research he worked with Prof. Arshad Kudrolli at Clark University and studied effect of shape on structure, dynamics and mechanical response of granular materials. As an entrepreneur, he co-founded and manages a private fund and is currently working with a UMass undergraduate on a image processing startup.