General Meetings

PDRAs and Research Fellows Seminar: The Physics of Squishy Things – From Mayonnaise to Brains

by Dr Joe Forth (University of Liverpool)

502 Flex 2 (Teaching Hub)

502 Flex 2

Teaching Hub


It is an interesting quirk of Liverpool that, despite our proximity to one of the world’s great soft matter physics labs (Unilever Port Sunlight), our Department has surprisingly few colloid scientists. Given this, I’ll start by explaining what a colloid is, why there’s more physics in a glass of gunky water than you might think, and why the chemists tend to be better at soft matter than the physicists. I’ll then talk about how I came to be a Soft Matter Physicist working at Liverpool, from my PhD on mayonnaise, to my detours through the agrochemicals industry, US Department of Energy labs, and nanomedicine. I’ll discuss my work on using 3D printing to make new squishy materials and how this might help us reduce the use of animal testing in the pharmaceuticals industry. Finally, depending on how much time I have between now and December, I might pick a fun Physics paper by former-Unilever don Patrick Warren to discuss, possibly this one about ponytails:

though I make no promises.


Speaker's Bio – I did my PhD in Physics, specifically soft matter physics and food emulsions at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with the Institute for Food Research in Norwich. I then briefly worked in industry for Croda studying sustainable agrochemical formulation, but quickly ran away to California. I was a postdoc for 2 years at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where I worked on 3D printing and then moved to University College London to work as a postdoc on nanomedicine. I then won a Ramsay Memorial Fellowship to start working on 3D printed tissue models, and in April 2023 was appointed Lecturer between the Physics and Chemistry departments, where I try and bundle up the bits of the above that I like into a coherent research program.

Organized by

PDRAs & Research Fellows Organising Committee (Maks Roman)