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Tuesday 5th September 2017 to Friday 8th September 2017

Centre for Mathematical Sciences

United Kingdom


Following a successful inaugural event in September 2016, and with the support of Unilever, the Edwards Symposia Series will run annually for the next five years.

This series marks a fitting tribute to the life and work of Professor Sir Sam Edwards FRS, one of the great scientific minds of the 20th Century. Sir Sam played a pivotal role in bringing advances in the physical sciences to bear on major industrial problems. His fundamental contributions to soft matter theory ranged from polymer melts, through gels, colloids, granular materials and glasses through to optimisation problems.

Soft matter systems are ubiquitous in industry and also arise in many biological contexts. Many share common mathematical structures that are exploited by theorists, who continue to build on Sir Sam’s realisation that broad classes of soft material are governed by unifying physical principles, such as those stemming from the geometry and topology of their microscopic components, independent of their precise molecular or chemical character.


Aims and Objectives

The Edwards Symposia Series will 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. Each event will include opportunities for industrial participants to identify challenging questions that can stimulate future academic work and collaboration. Leading academic speakers will convey their latest scientific work, in a forum intended to foster collaborative and interdisciplinary discussions across the industry/academia boundary. Speakers for this event included:

  • Ludwik Leibler, ESPCI Paris
  • Daan Frenkel, University of Cambridge
  • Susan Perkin, University of Oxford
  • Lyderic Bocquet, ENS - Paris
  • Ben Simons, University of Cambridge
  • Cait MacPhee, University of Edinburgh
  • Jean-Francois Joanny, ESPCI, Paris
  • Ron Larson, University of Michigan
  • Suzanne Fielding, Durham University
  • Bob Behringer, Duke University
  • Olivier Pouliquen, Aix-Marseille Université


The Edwards Symposia is a collaboration between the Turing Gateway to Mathematics, Durham Centre for Soft Matter and the Edwards Centre for Soft Matter. The latter is a newly-founded virtual laboratory, encompassing staff from six Cambridge University Departments, whose role is to promote academic collaborations in Soft Matter Science across the University.

Supporting the Edwards Symposia Series

Unilever have agreed to contribute at a level that secures continuation of the Series for five years. This generous support will cover a major part of the organisational and academic speaker costs.

We hope those who knew Sir Sam may wish to contribute to a separate fund whose aims are (a) to award bursaries to allow the participation of early-stage researchers during this five-year period, and (b) to prolong the Series thereafter. Our hope is that Edwards Symposia will become a permanent part of the international scientific landscape.

Donations can be made via this Link.

Registration and Venue

The second Edwards Symposium took place at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge on 6th-8th September 2017. There was a nominal registration fee of £75.00 for all attendees.

A college dinner was organised at Gonville and Caius College on Thursday 7th September at 7pm. The cost to attend the dinner was £45 including three courses and wine.

En-suite accommodation was available locally at Murray Edwards College at a rate of £73.50 per room per night on a bed and breakfast basis.