Seminar on Soft and Living Matter

Prof. Oliver Bäumchen is the head of Experimental Physics of Soft and Living Matter at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. Upon his visit to the Department of Applied Physics, he will deliver a talk titled Smart Microbes and Living Fluids - Shedding Light on Adhesion, Motility and Self-Organization.
Prof. Dr. Oliver Bäumchen talk at Aalto

Title of the talk: Smart Microbes and Living Fluids - Shedding Light on Adhesion, Motility and Self-Organization

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Oliver Bäumchen (University of Bayreuth)

Host: Prof. Matilda Backholm (Living Matter group)

Abstract of the talk: 

Microbes have conquered almost all ecosystems of our planet by successfully adapting to their environment. Life on Earth has evolved under the exposure of sunlight and many species are equipped with a photosynthesis machinery enabling them to transform light into chemical energy. Their microhabitats include liquid-infused soil, porous rocks and microdroplets, featuring complex geometric architectures that support strong spatial and temporal fluctuations of light exposure. Thus, developing functionalities to rapidly respond to light fluctuations has been pivotal for natural selection.

In this presentation, I will show how experimental methods and concepts from soft matter and biological physics, in conjunction with theoretical models from non-equilibrium statistical physics, enable us to decipher fundamental physical principles of the light response of photoactive microorganisms. In the first part, I will focus on the interactions of light-sensing microbes with surfaces and discuss in detail, how the bioadhesion of living microbes can be highly adaptive and even reversibly switchable within seconds. In the second part, I will focus on microbial motility and shed light on the mechanisms underlying the geometry- and light-controlled emergence of coherent flows and self-organization of living fluids.

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