Status Report

NASA Workshop: Grand Challenges in Soft Matter and Opportunities for Microgravity Research (DSOFT)

By SpaceRef Editor
January 16, 2020
Filed under , ,

NASA is participating in the “Grand Challenges in Soft Matter and Opportunities for Microgravity Research” workshop at the American Physical Society (APS) March Meeting in Denver, CO, on March 3, 2020. NASA is planning to utilize the roadmap generated from this workshop on future research directions for its microgravity complex fluids program. To help prepare for the workshop, NASA has released a Request for Information at The announcement of the workshop as a focus session of the APS March Meeting follows.

Workshop: Grand Challenges in Soft Matter and Opportunities for Microgravity Research (DSOFT)


Organizers: Paul Chaikin (, Noel Clark (, Sidney Nagel (


Dear Colleagues:


There will be a DSOFT sponsored focus session at the APS March Meeting in Denver on March 3, 2020, at 2:30-5:30 p.m. followed by a workshop at 5:30-7:30 p.m. aimed at developing a roadmap of the fundamental questions and challenges in soft matter with particular emphasis on the role of microgravity. The roadmap, along with new discoveries, will influence the future of the field and address the resources that will be needed.  The workshop and roadmap will inform NASA funding for future research areas in soft matter and complex fluids under two Space Policy Directives: (1) research that will enable human expansion across the solar system and (2) a better understanding of Soft Matter systems in space for use on Earth and in space.  Potential topics of interest for the workshop include:


·         Active matter

·         Aerosols and particulates

·         Biological materials

·         Colloids

·         Emulsions

·         Fluids

·         Foams

·         Gels

·         Glasses and disordered matter

·         Granular materials

·         Liquid crystals

·         Rheologies

·         Surface phenomena


A previous NASA sponsored workshop in 2003 produced a report that laid the groundwork for new instruments on the International Space Station (ISS) and for two decades of microgravity research (  The current workshop will endeavor to produce a similar roadmap, and will foster a lively exchange of new ideas as participants will want to see that the most exciting and current science is included.


You are invited to participate in the workshop and also to provide pre-meeting input to the workshop by describing what areas you would like to see discussed in the report including any specific microgravity-related experiments, concepts, observations, modeling and theory. Please send email to Paul Chaikin ( and cc Noel Clark ( and Sidney Nagel ( to indicate your interest in participating in the workshop. To provide input for the workshop, whether you are planning to attend the workshop or not, please provide a response to the NASA Request for Information (

SpaceRef staff editor.