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Physics of Active Matter

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We aim at exploring the complex behavior of nonequilibrium systems whose constituents extract energy from their environment to produce an autonomous, sustained motion. This encompasses a large variety of systems ranging from living matter, such as assemblies of cells, to synthetic systems, such as self-catalytic colloids in a fuel bath, and social systems, such as groups of animals and even human crowds.

In active matter, the combination of individual self-propulsion and interactions between individuals leads to collective effects without any equilibrium equivalent. To rationalize these effects, we propose minimal models which capture the complex emerging physics with simple ingredients. Combining methods of statistical mechanics, hydrodynamics, and soft matter, this leads to offer a synthetic understanding of the phenomenology of active matter.

Inspired by the success of equilibrium thermodynamics, our long-term goal is to build a versatile toolbox which provides a systematic road-map to quantify, predict and control the properties of active systems.