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Wednesday 13th September 2023 to Friday 15th September 2023

Centre for Mathematical Sciences

United Kingdom


The Edwards Symposium Series reaches its seventh year in 2023. This year, the Symposium will be an in-person event, albeit with some virtual elements, and we look 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 collaborative and discussions across the boundaries between academic disciplines and industrial sectors.

In 2023, the workshop will focus 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 pose fundamental questions in basic science that will be addressed by distinguished academic speakers. Their wider relevance will be reflected by the prominence at the Symposium of industrial participants whose oral presentations, posters and informal discussions will inform the discussions and, we hope, lead to future collaborations of benefit to both sides.


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 is 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.


The seventh Edwards Symposium will take place at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge on 13th – 15th September 2023. This will be an in-person meeting although a minority of speakers may attend remotely (especially where this avoids large carbon footprints). Streaming of talks may be available to allow remote participation, but this will be on a 'best endeavours' basis only.

A Provisional Programme will be made available soon.

To express your interest please follow the link.

Full costing details will be available soon.

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