Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Application Domains

Soft Matter Physics

From the physics-based viewpoint, since a few decades a new generation of physicists became interested again in the understanding of such visually fascinating phenomena, and started investigating the tight links between geometry and elasticity (In France this new trend was particularly stimulated by the work of Yves Pomeau, who convinced many young scientists to study the nonlinear physics of common objects such as paper, plants, or hairĀ  [27].). Common objects such as folded or torn paper, twined plants, coiled honey threads, or human hair have thus regained some popularity among the community in Nonlinear Physics (It is however amusing to observe that research in these areas is quite successful in obtaining the IG Nobel prizeĀ  [8], [30], thus still being considered as an exotic research topic by physicists.). In consequence, phenomena of interest have become remarkably close to those of Computer Graphics, since scientists in both places share the common goal to model complex and integrated mechanical phenomena at the macroscopic scale. Of course, the goals and employed methodologies differ substantially from one community to the other, but showcase some evident complementarity: while computer scientists are eager to learn and understand new physical models, physicists get more and more interested in the numerical tools, in which they perceive not only a means to confirm predictions afterwards, but also a support for testing new hypothesis and exploring scenarios that would be too cumbersome or even impossible to investigate experimentally. Besides, numerical exploration starts becoming a valuable tool for getting insights into the search for analytic solutions, thus fully participating to the modeling stage and physical understanding. However, physicists may be limited to a blind usage of numerical black boxes, which may furthermore not be dedicated to their specific needs. According to us, promoting a science of modeling in numerical physics would thus be a promising and rich avenue for the two research fields. Unfortunately, very scarce cooperation currently exists between the two communities, and large networks of collaboration still need to be set up.