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Wednesday 5th September 2018 to Friday 7th September 2018

Centre for Mathematical Sciences

United Kingdom


2018 marked the third event in the Edwards Symposium Series which will run annually at least for the next two years, thanks to the generous support of Unilever that will cover a major part of the organisational and academic speaker costs.

This Series is both a tribute to the life and work of Professor Sir Sam Edwards FRS, one of the great scientific minds of the 20th Century, and a recognition of the fast evolving and diverse nature of soft matter science. Sir Sam played a pivotal role 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.

Soft matter is relevant to industrial and to many biological contexts. The inspiration it offers to a wide range of disciplines has led to innovative materials and processes for industry as well as to new fundamental problems.

The Edwards Symposia aim 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.

Aims & Objectives

The Edwards Symposium Series highlights 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 convey their latest scientific work, aiming to foster collaborative and interdisciplinary discussions across the industry/academia boundary.

In 2018, the workshop focussed on the following soft matter areas (including their industrial challenges):

  • Microscale fluid dynamics
  • Jamming and flow
  • Soft interfaces
  • Responsive and programmable soft matter

These topical areas have commonality from their statistical nature, complexity, dynamics, responsiveness and softness. All these themes have an industrial relevance that was also given prominence at the Symposium by industrial participants. Their talks, posters and discussions informed the activities of academic participants and lead to concrete collaborations, of benefit to both sides, in the model of Sam Edwards.


The Edwards Symposia are a collaboration between the Turing Gateway to Mathematics, Unilever 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. In 2018, there is also support from the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter and Functional Interfaces (SOFI-CDT).


Alexei Likhtman Poster Prize

The aim of the Prize was to acknowledge, celebrate, and promote achievements of young scientists in early stages of their career, in recognising the memory and the contributions to polymer physics of Alexei Likhtman. The Prize of £100 was offered for the best poster presented at the meeting, the winner was Elsen Tjhung, University of Cambridge. This was judged by a dedicated panel at the Conference. 

Bursary Funding

Early stage researchers were able to apply for a bursary to cover registration fee and 2 night’s accommodation costs. We offered this to 29 individuals who met the criteria.

Registration and Venue

Registration is now closed. The third Edwards Symposium took place at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge on 5th-7th September 2018.

There was a nominal registration fee which was £80 for non-academics and £60 for academics/public sector individuals.

En-suite accommodation was available locally at Murray Edwards College at a cost of £75.00 per night bed and breakfast.

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