Active Matter at the Frontier

Coordinators: Mark Bowick, Mike Cates, Nikta Fakhri, and Sriram Ramaswamy

Active matter is a class of non-equilibrium, many-body systems that consist of individual energy-transducing components. The collective dynamics of such active entities underlies phenomena on scales from the molecular to the macroscopic, and it includes both living and non-living systems. The field of active matter focuses on understanding how the collective behaviors of internally driven components can give rise to patterns of motion and stress on large scales. While active matter systems violate detailed balance at the molecular scale, it remains unclear how such non-equilibrium dynamics manifests itself and can be quantified at meso- and macroscopic scales. In particular, it is interesting to investigate, given a particular set of microscopic elementary units, what range of possible macroscopic patterns, structures, dynamics and functionalities can be realized. The conference will bring together experimental and theoretical researchers from a broad range of disciplines to discuss recent advances that have transformed active matter into a rapidly growing field that spans diverse disciplines, ranging from physics to biology, to materials science and engineering.