Special CMS, Michael Brenner, Harvard, "Towards artificial living materials"

Wed, Feb 24, 2016, 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
Location: 
PCTS Seminar Room
Biological systems provide an inspiration for creating a new paradigm for materials synthesis. Imagine it were possible to create an inanimate material that could both perform some function, e.g. catalyze a set of reactions, and also self replicate. Changing the parameters governing such a system would allow the possibility of evolving materials with interesting properties by carrying out “mutation-selection” cycles on the functional outcomes. Although we are quite far from realizing such a vision in the laboratory, recent experimental advances in coating colloidal scale objects with specific glues (e.g.using complementary DNA strands) have suggested a set of theoretical models in which the possibilities of realizing these ideas can be explored in a controlled way. This talk will describe our ongoing efforts to explore these ideas using theory and simulation, and also small scale experiments.