O’Hern to Lead International Symposium on Macroscale Particulate Materials

Associate professor of mechanical engineering & materials science, physics, and applied physics Corey O’Hern O’Hern has been awarded a $20,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to organize and host the symposium, “Statics and Dynamics of Dense Granular Material” at the 2015 European Solid Mechanics Conference (ESMC) in Madrid, Spain. O’Hern will use the NSF award to support the attendance of 10 invited senior speakers from the U.S., as well as a number of junior researchers.

O’Hern will co-organize the symposium with Prof. Robert Behringer of Duke University and Prof. Lou Kondic of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. In July 2014, O’Hern and Behringer (along with Prof. Bulbul Chakraborty from Brandeis University) were jointly awarded a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to perform pioneering research in the self-assembly of macroscale particulate media.

The Keck grant supports research that aims to establish the first comprehensive, theoretical framework for predicting how macroscale particles — from grains of sand to coffee beans — self-assemble into large-scale arrangements with mechanical properties that resemble, but are distinct from, what is traditionally considered a solid state. The research is one example of O’Hern’s focus on the complex and little-understood physics of systems composed of macro-sized particles. The Symposium will serve as a forum for Behringer, Chakraborty, and O’Hern to showcase their ongoing experimental, theoretical, and computational research on macroscale self-assembly.

The ESMC is hosted by the European Mechanics Society, an international non-governmental non-profit scientific organization whose objective is to engage in all activities intended to promote in Europe the development of mechanics as a branch of science and engineering.