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The Australian National University

Professor Edith Sevick

PhD (Massachusetts), BSE (Pittsburgh)
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Edith Sevick graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.S.E. and received her PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has since held positions at the University of Cambridge (1989-1990), the University of California (1990-1992), the University of Colorado (1992-1996), where she was awarded an NSF Careers Award, before being appointed Fellow at the Research School of Chemistry. She has been appointed Professor at the Research School of Chemistry.


Research interests

Soft Matter is a sub-discipline of condensed matter and focusses upon chemical & biological matter that is easily deformed by thermal forces or fluctuations. These materials show their most interesting behaviour/properties at energy scales on the order of kBT where classical (as opposed to quantum) physics dominate. Unlike classically hard condensed matter, the properties of soft matter cannot be understood solely from the atomic constituents, their bonding, and enthalpic interactions. Instead, soft matter is characterised by mesoscopic self-organisation of many molecules (e.g. self-assembly) and/or by a large number of internal degrees of freedom of a single molecule (e.g. DNA molecule or synthetic polymers). Soft materials exist in a wide variety of equilibrium and metastable states that are easily perturbed by external fields --more simply stated, these are highly responsive materials and consequently hold potential in many applications. This group is interested in energy paths of soft matter, as for example, the work required to stretch a single DNA molecule or propel a colloid near a liquid interface or membrane surface. Our experimental tools are pico-Newton-scale force measurement devices, such as Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Optical Tweezers (OT), while our predictive efforts use theories in statistical thermodynamics and computer simulation.

Updated: 28 July 2015/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSC / Page Contact:  Webmaster