Active matter: An introduction and some recent advances

Speaker: Prof. Hugues Chaté,

Senior scientist, CEA - Saclay, France,

Chair professor, Beijing Computational Science Research Center, China

Lead Editor, Physical Review Letters
Date2017221日下午14:00, Location: 唐仲英楼B501


In this talk, I will introduce the new, fast-growing, interdisciplinary field of active matter and present some recent important advances.

Active matter is the term now used by physicists to designate out-of-equilibrium systems in which energy is spent in the bulk, locally, to produce persistent motion/displacement. Examples abound, not just within living systems (bird flocks, fish schools, collective motion of cells, etc.) but also, increasingly, in man-made, well-controlled, non-living systems such as micro- and nanoswimmers, active colloids, in vitro mixtures of biofilaments and motor proteins,etc.

I will show some striking experimental/observational examples and then proceed to give an account of our current understanding of some of the simplest active matter models, which consist of self-propelled particles locally aligning their velocities. In this context, the fluid in which the particles move is neglected, and one speaks of “dry active matter”. I will argue that these models do have experimental relevance, in addition to being important per se, much as the Ising model is important in statistical mechanics. I will show that a wealth of new physics arises, which calls for further theoretical studies.



Dr. Hugues Chaté obtained his PhD from Université Pierre & Marie Curie in 1990, under the supervision of Yves Pomeau and Paul Manneville. After a short visit at Bell Laboratories in USA, he joined CEA Saclay (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) as a researcher and promoted to Senior Scientist in 2002. Dr. Chaté's research focuses on the study of out-of-equilibrium phenomena, phase transitions and pattern formation in complex systems. During his PhD work, he studied spatiotemporal intermittency, a type of transition to turbulence, as an out-of-equilibrium phase transition. In the following years, he did a series of important works on related topics. More recently, he shifted his attention to active matter and has made a number of important and original contributions to the subject. Besides, he has done excellent work on chaos, percolation, synchronization and even the voter model in social science. In 2015, he took a chair professor position at the Computational Science Research Center in Beijing. He is now the Lead Editor of Physical Review Letters. He has published more than 150 papers in refereed journals, including 2 in Nature, 2 in PNAS and more than 50 in PRL, with nearly 6,000 citations in total.