Séminaires, soutenances

Granular matter and biophysics

by Siet Van Den Wildenberg

9111 ()



During this talk, I will present first my work in granular physics and in a second part, my work in biophysics.

Granular materials are present all around us and common examples include sand, rice, etc. These materials are collections of macroscopic particles with two important characteristics: temperature plays no role, and, the particles interact via dissipative contact forces. Even though a single particle is a simple object, the collective behavior of many particles can be very complex. Understanding the behavior of granular materials is not only important in industries (such as construction, agriculture, mining), but also in geological processes (such as landslides and erosion). I will focus on the use of acoustic waves to investigate granular materials.

Since the identification of the cell as the smallest unit of life, numerous biological studies have been focused on the understanding of the cell and all it contains. Living systems such as the cell are constantly changing and a large variety of dynamic processed occur continuously inside the cell. In order to understand what the world inside the cell is like, how microscopic particles behave and how they move, knowledge about parameters such as rates and velocities are necessary. Biophysics provides the techniques and methodology to quantitatively determine these parameters. I will focus the use of fluorescence microscopy to investigate single protein motion on microtubules and in the cell membranes.