An-Chang Shi

Soft Matter: Where Physics Meets Chemistry, Biology, and Engineering

An-Chang Shi


What do plastics, pharmaceuticals, foodstuff and biomaterials have in common? They are all soft matter! Understanding the principles governing the properties of these soft materials is paramount to advanced material technology and, more importantly, to biological organisms because we are the perfect example of self-assembled soft matter.

Traditionally, soft matter is a research area populated by chemical and material engineers, emphasizing the synthesis and characterization of these materials. Since middle 70’s, many physicists turned their attentions to this important area of research, bringing with them the insights from physics.

The infusion of physics ideas into soft matter research has led to many progresses. At the same time, many new physical concepts and ideas emerge from soft matter research. My lecture starts with a brief survey of soft condensed matter and its physical properties, and ends with a few example studies in this fascinating research area. 


Speaker Biography

Dr. An-Chang Shi is a professor of physics at McMaster University. He earned B.Sc. in physics from Fudan University and Ph.D. in physics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1988. From 1988 to 1892 he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow and Research Associate at McMaster University. He joined Xerox Research Centre of Canada as a Member of Research Staff in 1992 and moved to McMaster University as an Associate Professor in 1999. Dr. Shi received a Premier’s Research Excellent Award in 2000 and was elected to Fellow of American Physical Society in 2010. He has worked on a wide range of topics in condensed matter physics, including crystal shapes, superconductivity, and polymer physics. His current research activities centre around on the development of theoretic models and methods for soft matter, the investigation of phase behaviour of self-assembling macromolecules, and the study of kinetic pathways of transitions between stable and metastable states. 


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