Prof. Wilson Poon

Position:
Chair in Natural Philosophy
Research Theme:
Condensed Matter and Photonics
Research Group:
Soft Matter, Statistical Physics and Biophysics
Institution:
Edinburgh
Email address:
w.poon@ed.ac.uk
Telephone number:
+44 (0)131 650 5297
Address:
School of Physics and Astronomy, James Clerk Maxwell Building, Peter Guthrie Tait Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3FD, United Kingdom

Research interests

I am internationally known for my work using very well characterised, 'model' colloids to study phenomena that are ubiquitous across condensed matter and statistical physics, particularly the structure and dynamics of arrested states such as glasses and gels. Understanding such states is a grand challenge facing 21st century physics; at the same time, they occur widely in a very large range of industrial processes and products. To exploit the latter connections, I set up the Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership (ECFP) a few years ago to coordinate industrial consultancy. Our clients now span many sectors, from food and confectionaries through personal care to specialty and agri-chemicals. 

Funded initially by an EPSRC Senior Research Fellowship, and now continuing under an European Research Council Advanced Grant and an EPSRC Programme Grant, I also work on the physics of active particles. These colloids are intrinsically non-equilibrium, in that they continually transduces free energy from their surroundings to engage in activities such as growth (in size and number) and self propulsion (i.e. they are micro-swimmers). My group studies both active particles in the form of bacteria as well as synthetic colloidal swimmers. Our long-term goal is to discover and understand new modes of collective behaviour in active particle systems, both on their own, and in the company of passive particles. The results should provide impetus for theory development in a frontier area of statistical mechanics, lead to new material designs, and throw light on selected biological phenomena (such as the growth of biofilms). 

Teaching

I was funed by an EPSRC Senior Research Fellowship during 2007-2012 to engage in full time research. From 2014 onwards I will be funded for full time research by a combination of an EPSRC Programme Grant (30%) and and ERC Advnaced Grant (70%). My teaching effort has and will remain therefore limited largely to the supervision of Senior Honours and Undergraduate Masters Projects. I also contribute to the teaching of SUPA Graduate School modules on disordered materials and probes of soft matter. I also do a small amount of teaching at the School of Divinity in a masters programme on 'Science and Theology'. 

Research outputs

  1. Bacteria as living patchy colloids: Phenotypic heterogeneity in surface adhesion
    Teun Vissers, Aidan Brown, Nikolaos Koumakis, Angela Dawson, Michiel Hermes, Jana Schwarz-Linek, Andrew Schofield, Joseph French, Vasileios Koutsos, Jochen Arlt et al., Science Advances (2018)
  2. Painting with light-powered bacteria DOI
    Jochen Arlt, Vincent A. Martinez, Angela Dawson, Teuta Pilizota and Wilson C. K. Poon, Nature Communications, 9, 1 (2018)
  3. Osmotaxis in Escherichia coli through changes in motor speed DOI
    Jerko Rosko, Vincent Martinez, Wilson Poon and Teuta Pilizota, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114, 38 , p. 7969-7976 (2017)
  4. When immiscible becomes miscible—Methane in water at high pressures DOI
    Ciprian G. Pruteanu, Graeme J. Ackland, Wilson C. K. Poon and John S. Loveday, Science Advances, 3, 8 (2017)
  5. Ionic screening and dissociation are crucial for understanding chemical self-propulsion in polar solvents DOI
    Aidan Brown, Wilson Poon, Christian Holm and Joost De Graaf, Soft Matter, 13, p. 1200-1222 (2017)
  6. Unsteady flow and particle migration in dense, non-Brownian suspensions DOI
    Michiel Hermes, Ben M. Guy, Wilson C. K. Poon, Guilhem Poy, Michael E. Cates and Matthieu Wyart, Journal of rheology, 60, 5 , p. 905-916 (2016)
  7. Soft interfacial materials: from fundamentals to formulation
    Nick Brooks, Michael Cates, Paul Clegg, Alex Lips, Wilson Poon and John M. Seddon, Philosophical Transactions A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 374, 2072 (2016)
  8. Gravitational collapse of depletion-induced colloidal gels DOI
    R Harich, T W Blythe, M Hermes, E Zaccarelli, A J Sederman, L F Gladden and W C K Poon, Soft Matter (2016)
  9. Celebrating Soft Matter's 10th Anniversary: Simplicity in complexity – towards a soft matter physics of caramel DOI
    Simon Weir, Keith Bromley, Alex Lips and Wilson Poon, Soft Matter, 12, p. 2757-2765 (2016)
  10. Escherichia coli as a model active colloid DOI
    Jana Schwarz-Linek, Jochen Arlt, Alys Jepson, Angela Dawson, Teun Vissers, Dario Miroli, Teuta Pilizota, Vincent A. Martinez and Wilson C K Poon, Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 137, p. 2-16 (2016)
Last updated: 19 Feb 2018 at 21:11