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Wednesday 7th September 2022 to Friday 9th September 2022

Centre for Mathematical Sciences

United Kingdom


The Edwards Symposium Series reached its sixth year in 2022. Beginning in 2016 and with a gap in 2020 due to COVID, the Series has been funded in part by ongoing generous support from Unilever. In 2021 the Symposium ran in a hybrid format. This year, the Symposium was an in-person event, but with some virtual elements and we welcomed participants back to the Centre of Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge.

Sir Sam Edwards FRS, in whose name this series was set up, was one of the great scientific minds of the 20th century. This series pays tribute to Sir Sam, recognising the pivotal role he played in bringing advances in the physical sciences to bear on major industrial problems. His fundamental contributions to the field of soft matter ranged from polymer melts, through gels, colloids, granular materials and glasses to optimisation problems.

Each year the Symposium attempts to highlight the fast evolving and diverse nature of soft matter science. Materials in this category are those that are easily deformed by thermal fluctuations and external forces. These properties relate to many industrial and biological systems and puts soft matter at the centre of a wide range of disciplines. The science area has also led to many materials and processes for industry while also posing new fundamental problems. The Symposium continues to build on Sir Sam’s realisation that broad classes of soft materials are governed by unifying physical principles, arising from the geometry, topology and qualitative behaviour of their microscopic components, regardless of their detailed molecular or chemical character.

There was a broad range of fundamental questions that cut across the whole of condensed matter physics and the study of soft matter can lead to fresh insights into these. The Edwards Symposium Series therefore continues to recognise the fast evolving and diverse nature of the field and each year focuses on different areas of new and emerging science.

Aims & Objectives

The Edwards Symposium Series continues to highlight the latest developments in soft matter science with a particular (but not exclusive) emphasis on theoretical and mathematical models, and on how these models can inform industrial processes, materials, and design. Leading academic speakers will convey their latest scientific work, aiming to foster collaborative and interdisciplinary discussions across the industry/academia boundary.

In 2022, the workshop focused on the following soft matter areas:

  • Cellular assemblies 

  • Geophysical soft matter

  • Nonequilibrium phase transitions

  • Liquid crystals and LC elastomers (Mark Warner Memorial)

  • Soft matter for health

In keeping with previous symposiums, these themes posed fundamental questions in basic science that were addressed by distinguished academic speakers. Their industrial relevance were reflected by the prominence at the Symposium of industrial participants whose oral presentations, posters and informal discussions informed the discussions and led to concrete future collaborations, of benefit to both sides.

Poster Exhibition & Elevator Pitch Session

Participants were invited to present a poster for display throughout the workshop on a soft matter related research area. There was also an accompanying elevator pitch session (usually for early career researchers), to deliver a short presentation. Please note: deadline has now closed for elevator pitch and poster submissions.


The Edwards Symposia was organised jointly by the Newton Gateway to Mathematics and the Edwards Centre for Soft Matter. The latter is a virtual laboratory, encompassing staff from six Cambridge University Departments, whose role is to promote academic collaborations in Soft Matter Science across the University. Scientific consultation is undertaken by five academic organisers – please see the Organisers tab above for further information.


Registrations are now closed for this event. 


Physical registration - Friday 26th August 2022
Funding requests – Friday 29th July 2022
Elevator Pitch and Poster expression of interest – Friday 29th July 2022


Institute of Physics Early Career Lecturer Award
Congratulations to Kasia Warburton of Dartmouth College on winning this year’s Institute of Physics (IoP) Early Career Lecturer Award for her talk on Subglacial Soft Matter at the recent 6th Edwards Symposium - Soft Matter for the 21st Century. 
The IoP Liquids & Complex Fluids Group make an award to the Symposium for an outstanding early career speaker. David Zwicker was the first recipient of this IoP award at the 4th Symposium in 2019. The award goes towards meeting the travel costs of the recipient.
Alexei Likhtman Prizes
This prize was awarded for best early career research poster presentation. This year the prize winner was Jack Binysh.
Royal Society of Chemistry Poster Prizes
Awarded for best three posters from the poster exhibition. These prizes are not ranked and in alphabetical order the winners were – Ellen Carrick, Jeanine Shea, Jack Treado.

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