Physics Professor Receives Templeton Grant

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November 3, 2015—Associate Professor of Physics Daniel Blair recently received a $1 million research grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Blair’s research project is a collaboration with Pranab Das, a physics professor at Elon University and Blair’s former undergraduate mentor, and Zvonimir Dogic, of Brandeis University.  

At Georgetown, Blair’s research focuses on soft matter physics, and he is part of the faculty of the Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology. The Templeton grant will fund Blair’s latest research on the active matter of microtubules.

“Active matter consists of an assembly of objects that consumes energy to generate continuous dynamics either propagating in space or oscillating in time. Such matter is ubiquitous in life but has only recently been synthesized and explored,” Blair explained. Through the grant, Blair and his colleagues will create versions of naturally occurring active matter and hope to provide insight in a field that has been dominated by theoretical research.

“As experimentalists, we will create novel materials, distribute them to peers, train other researchers, and present our results in high-impact publications,” Blair said. “Having access to these materials for the first time and bringing to bear innovative exploratory methods, we expect to have a major impact on this nascent field.”