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Wednesday 13th September 2023 to Friday 15th September 2023

Centre for Mathematical Sciences

United Kingdom


The Edwards Symposium Series reached its seventh year in 2023. This year, the Symposium was an in-person event, albeit with some virtual elements, and we looked forward to welcoming 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 and statistical physics ranged from polymer melts, through gels, colloids, and granular materials to structural glasses, spin-glasses, and 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 in statistical physics. The Symposium continues to build on Sir Sam’s realization 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.

Soft matter poses fundamental questions in statistical physics whose implications extend far beyond soft materials themselves. The Edwards Symposium Series continues to recognise the fast evolving and diverse nature of the field and each year focuses on different areas of new and emerging science related, but not limited, to the statistical physics of soft matter.

Aims & Objectives

The Edwards Symposium Series continues to highlight the latest developments in soft matter and statistical physics with a particular (but not exclusive) emphasis on theoretical and mathematical models. There is a focus on how the research can inform industrial processes, materials, and design and how it can help address societal priorities and problems. Leading academic speakers convey their latest scientific work, aiming to foster collaboration and discussions across the boundaries between academic disciplines and industrial sectors.

In 2023, the workshop focused on the following soft matter areas:

  • Granular Materials and Plasticity

  • Subcellular Biophysics

  • Programmable Soft Matter

  • Statistical Physics of Rare Events

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

Early Career Researcher Bursaries

We are no longer accept requests for Early Career Researcher Bursaries.

Early Career Researchers (ECRs) can apply for a bursary to cover their travel expenses attending the upcoming symposium. If you are interested in this funding please indicate on the registration form along with your estimated travel costs. Please note we can only award travel funding to early career researchers. Early Career Researchers will be notified early August on the outcome of the funding.

Poster Exhibition and 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 Symposium Series is funded in part by the generous sponsorship of CFM (Capital Fund Management) We express our gratitude to CFM (and also to Unilever who sponsored the first 6 symposia).


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 planning is undertaken by five academic organisers – please see the Organisers tab above for further information.


Registration has now closed for this event.


Physical Registration – Thursday 31st August 2023
Virtual Registration – Friday 8th September 2023

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