The Adolphe Merkle Institute has launched a new Master program aimed at students interested in the chemistry and physics of soft matter. At the interface between physics, chemistry, biology and materials science, the two-year course at the University of Fribourg offers a unique interdisciplinary curriculum in the field of Soft Materials, or Soft Matter as it is sometimes called.
This broad class of materials includes polymers, colloids, foams, gels, biological tissue along with others that are part solid and part liquid and are often easily deformable. Soft materials are everywhere and many industries, including the traditional materials sector as well as the medical, pharmaceutical, and food industries, depend increasingly on professionals with specific training in this domain. The Master program therefore provides students with an excellent basis for employment in industry or to launch an academic career.
“They’ll graduate as highly skilled individuals with strengthened language and communication skills, who are capable of conveying ideas and concepts and discuss projects on a very high scientific level,” says AMI BioNanomaterials Professor Alke Fink.
“Many of them will pursue doctoral studies after the program, when they will deepen their disciplinary and interdisciplinary expertise and are prepared for leadership roles in industry and academia.”
Soft Matter science is interdisciplinary, bridging not only chemistry, physics and biology, but also materials science and engineering. The Master itself consists of compulsory and elective courses along with small and the thesis research projects. These courses include varied topics such as nanomaterials, microscopy and scattering techniques, soft matter and biophysics, polymer chemistry, fundamental cell biology but also science writing and ethics as well as innovation.
The students will be trained to conduct research in contemporary fields of materials chemistry and physics.
“Interdisciplinary research requires broad knowledge, motivation and mutual respect. In order to understand and solve problems with roots in multiple disciplines, we will teach students the capacity to integrate ideas,” adds Prof. Fink. “It is our goal to help students develop an appreciation of the differences between disciplines on how to approach a problem.”
Students for the program, which will emphasise quality over quantity, will be selected on a competitive basis. The first students will begin their Master in autumn 2016. Applications are now open. For more information and insights about the Specialised Master in Chemistry and Physics of Soft Materials, please visit the programme website at softmatter.ch.