Soft Matter

Category Theory suggests inversion as a path to creativity and discovery. So, taking a lesson from the archetypal martial arts — full of focus and force, violence and velocity, solidity and strength and self-centering — explore the opposite. What's it like to be diffuse, humble, slow, invisible, weak, selfless ("self-less")?

Maybe rather like aikido or taiji. Instead of being full of oneself and one's goals, be empty and light; instead of blocking and counter-striking, redirect and rebalance. Yin, not Yang.

So big smile and salute to an awesome new metaphor when the American Physical Society — a wonderfully hard-headed scientific organization if there is one — a few years ago announced the establishment of a new subgroup, "Soft Matter". The topic is highly interdisciplinary and concentrates (if that's the right word for something so diverse!) on "... 'squishy' materials like polymers and biopolymers, foams, liquid crystals, complex fluids, and membranes ... patchy particles, DNA assemblies, and granular packings ... Origami-inspired materials and self-propelled colloids ... problems [that] are challenging and messy due to their many-body nature, the importance of interactions across many length and time scales, the existence of metastable states, their often complex geometry and topology, and long relaxation times ..." [1].

Let's be Soft!

(cf. There Are No Secrets (2014-02-26), Mnemonic Principles of Taiji (2014-03-24), Good Manners and Taiji (2014-04-03), Control Theory of Taiji (2014-07-23), Mantra - Soften Into Experience (2014-11-26), Taiji at Work (2015-06-29), ...) - ^z - 2016-07-07