Live Webcast to Explore the Bizarre Physics Of "Bulletproof Custard"

Article ID: 663171

Released: 19-Oct-2016 3:05 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Newswise — October 19, 2016 (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) – How do you make custard bulletproof? The short answer: with soft matter physics. Unlike most common material, soft matter has strange properties that allows it to change its state – from liquid to solid, for example – under certain conditions. Soft matter research touches on food production, the development of building materials, and yes, the manufacture of life-saving technologies like bulletproof vests (though they probably won’t be made of custard).

In a Nov. 2 public lecture at Perimeter Institute, physicist Michael Cates will explain how these fascinating materials work with a few equations, plenty of diagrams, and hands-on demonstrations. The talk, titled “Bulletproof Custard: Fluids That Stop Flowing When You Push Them Too Hard,” is part of the Perimeter Institute Public Lecture Series, supported by Presenting Sponsor BMO Financial Group. The lecture will be webcast live on the Perimeter Institute website and via partner organizations on Wednesday Nov. 2 at 7 PM ET.

The Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, Cates is an expert on the theory of soft matter, such as polymers, colloids, gels, liquid crystals, and granular material, as well as the burgeoning field of “active matter.” He is also the Principal Investigator of an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Programme Grant that focuses on design principals for new soft materials. Cates was previously a Professor of Natural Philosophy and Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Edinburgh.

Following his talk, Cates will answer questions from the online and in-house audience – including questions submitted prior to and during the talk via Facebook and Twitter (using the hashtag #piLIVE). Questions are welcomed from everyone – aspiring scientific explorers, school classes, physics and chemistry buffs, and general science enthusiasts.

Click here to sign up for a reminder to tune-in to the live webcast.

View past PI Public Lectures and events, and find further details about PI’s research, training, and outreach activities at

LIVE WEBCAST DETAILS• What: Michael Cates, Bulletproof Custard: Fluids That Stop Flowing When You Push Them Too Hard• When: Wednesday, November 2, 7 PM ET• Where: Live at Perimeter Institute, webcast online at here to sign up to receive an email reminder about this live webcast• Pose questions for Cates by tweeting @Perimeter using the hashtag #piLIVE• More info:

ABOUT PERIMETER INSTITUTEPerimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:Eamon O’FlynnManager, Media Relationseoflynn[at]perimeterinstitute[dot]ca(519) 569-7600 x5071@Perimeter


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