Squishy Soft Science 2018

Over 100 little “scientists in the making” and their families attended the Squishy Soft Science 2018 outreach event, held at the Story Museum in Oxford on Saturday 30th of June. The young participants had the opportunity to chat with DiStruc fellows and guest researchers, gain hands-on experience in DiStruc-related science, with demonstrations carefully designed by the fellows and described in a special booklet. Squishy Soft Science Certificates were awarded to the children who completed all the experiments.

DiStruc meeting in Jülich

The sixth DiStruc Training and Progress meeting was held from 4th until 8th of December 2017. The meeting was hosted by Prof. Pavlik Lettinga and Dr. Marisol Ripoll at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The scientific programme included seven masterclasses given by DiStruc fellows and all fellows' presentations with updates on their research progress. Lectures and workshops on transferable skill and careers, a mine tour and bowling were also in the programme. An outreach event  "Wackelig Weiche Wissenscahft" (Squishy Soft Science) took place on 8th of December at the Gymnasium Zitadelle, Jülich (see report in the school magazine, in German).

Best Outreach Prize awarded to three DiStruc fellows

Following the success of the Squishy Soft Science event, the DiStruc fellows applied for the 2016 Best Outreach Prize awarded by the Flowing Matter Cost Action (MP1305). The prize is awarded to an outstanding outreach activity conducted between May 2015 and October 2016 and to a maximum of three participants with comparable contributions. The DiStruc fellows voted for their three representatives and elected Shari Finner (Eindhoven University of Technology), Marie Föllmer (CANOE) and Max Tortora (University of Oxford) who put together an excellent application and eventually won the prize. Congratulations! 

The prize ceremony will be held on Monday the 23rd of January in Porto (Portugal), during the next main annual meeting of Flowing Matter. 

Squishy Soft Science

More than 100 little ‘scientists in the making’ attended our Squishy Soft Science event, held in Christ Church, Oxford on Saturday 9th of July. Children, mainly aged 7-14, had the opportunity to meet up with the DiStruc fellows and perform a series of experiments related to the DiStruc project. The demonstrations were carefully designed by the fellows, who also prepared a nice booklet especially for the event. Children who completed all the experiments were awarded the Squishy Soft Science Certificate.


We would like to thank all the DiStruc fellows for their hard work, David Dunmur, Martin Grossel and Fiona Holdsworth from the Christ Church Chemists (CH)3 Group who provided valuable support with the organisation of the event, Kazem Edmond, Siyu Chen and Rahul Sharma for stepping in and assisting with the demonstrations, Jack Chapman for the tech support, George Volonakis for recording the event and of course Christ Church for their warm welcome and in kind support. 

Most importantly we would like to thank our 200 visitors for spending the afternoon with us. Hope to see you again in our future events! 

Check out the page of the event for pictures and videos! 

DiStruc Public Lectures

As seen by the local news

A reporter from Cursor, the local news site of the Eindhoven University of Technology, attended the DiStruc Public Lectures and wrote a short praising article, describing the event.

The article begins with the presentation of Roel Dullens who introduced the audience to the 'wondrous world of colloids', and showed live from the lab in Oxford how the experiments are actually performed. Then David Dunmur took over and 'provided an overview of the development since their discovery at the end of the 19th century of these special colloids, which we know best from LCD screens.' Finally, 'a table filled with glassware was rolled into the Filmzaal' and the people present participated in a hands-on demonstration provided by Teijin Aramid, one of the industrial partners of DiStruc. They 'were allowed personally to empty a syringe of liquid crystals into a beaker of salt water. With a certain measure of dexterity this resulted in meters-long fibers, which were displayed on the table.'   

The full article can be found here. (tip: if you are confident with Dutch, switch language. The native version is more thorough.)

If you missed the lectures, go to the DiStruc YouTube channel

DiStruc meeting in Eindhoven

The second DiStruc meeting will take place in February (15-19/02/2016) in Eindhoven (the Netherlands) and it will have it all! The first day will be dedicated to the DiStruc fellows: they will present their individual projects and discuss the challenges they are faced with. This progress meeting will be followed by six training lectures covering a broad range of topics on Soft Matter. There are limited places available for non-DiStruc students, so if you are interested make sure you book on time! The last training lecture on Wednesday 17 February will mark the beginning of the 3rd Playing Colloidal Mikado Workshop. Two public lectures and one hands-on demonstration will reveal the remarkable aspects of liquid crystals – not to be missed! The main lectures of the workshop will involve invited speakers from several European countries who will discuss the recent developments and advances in the chemistry and physics of non-spherical colloidal particles with a focus on colloidal rods. The workshop will end with ‘a night at the (van Abbe) museum’. Finally, on Friday 19 February the DiStruc fellows, together with their supervisors will travel to Arnhem and visit Teijin Aramid. They will be guided around the company’s premises and follow a series of industry-related talks. For more information check the event's page

European Conference on Liquid Crystals

The 13th European Conference on Liquid Crustals will take place in Manchester, 7-11 September 2015. It will bring together leading international researchers to present and discuss the latest directions in liquid crystals and soft anisotropic materials. Three of our Scientists in Charge will be participating in the conference with plenary and invited talks. Eric Grelet (Centre de Recherche Paul-Pascal, CNRS) will give a talk on “Entropy driven phase transition and chirality amplification in colloidal liquid crystals: the paradigm of filamentous viruses”, Julia Yeomans (University of Oxford) will give a talk on “Active Nematics”, where as Paul P.A.M. van der Schoot (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven) will give a talk entitled  “Tactoids Large and Small”. Moreover, DiStruc is participating in the special session on with a poster that highlights the most important aspects of the project. This is an exciting opportunity to spread the word about our project and interact with a diverse audience. Also, David Dunmur (University of Manchester) will be participating with a video presentation entitled LC past present and future and a Demonstration of magnetic-field induced Fredericksz effect. The outreach session will also include hands-on experiments and will finish with a keynote public lecture on Liquid crystals: Nature’s delicate and very prosperous state of matter. The outreach session is open to the public, so come and meet us!

Info: 5.00-7.30, Renold Building C15, University of Manchester