Condensed Matter & Surface Sciences
“Chemical Physics with Virus-like Particles”
Viruses make us sick. But they also help us to digest food, and even to evolve. Devoid of own life, they drive large-scale phenomena, across the entire biosphere. They have perfected properties unequaled by synthetic materials. Due to the spatial scales they inhabit, experimenting with and understanding the origins of these properties is challenging. Thus, viruses are made of hundreds to thousands of molecules locked together, often in an amazingly precise architecture, by multiple weak interactions. Many of the interesting characteristics, such as assembly fidelity and speed, stem out of cooperativity. At the virus scale, collective phenomena cannot be predicted solely from insights obtained from the properties of an individual molecule. On the other hand, viruses may be too small to have scale-independent properties, which limits usability of continuum theories. In this talk I will present vignettes from our work on the thermodynamics of virus-like particle assembly, on icosahedral virus mechanics and on a phenomenon that suggests that virus shells may be useful in facilitating accelerated photon emission from a quantum coherent collective state, at room temperature.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
4:10 p.m. -- Walter Lecture Hall 245