2018 Carolyn and Charles Knobler Lecture

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Professor Jean-François Joanny (ESPCI Paris and Institut Curie Paris) gave the 4th annual Carolyn & Charles Knobler Lecture on January 22, 2018.  

The lecture, entitled “Physics of Tissue Monolayers”, was well-attended by colleagues, students, and friends and was followed by a question-and-answer period and then by a reception in the Young Hall Cafe Commons. Select photos from the event are below.   

Joanny is presently Director of the Ecole Superieure de Physique et de Chime Industrielles (ESPCI) of the City of Paris, one of the most prestigious research centers in France, going back more than 100 years to the discoveries of piezoelectricity (1880) and of radium (1898) there by the Curies. Previous Directors include Paul Langevin (1925-1946) and Pierre Gilles de Gennes (1976-2003). Until his appointment as Director at ESPCI Professor Joanny was for many years the head of the physical chemistry group at the Curie Institute, founded in 1909 by Madame Curie as the first basic medical radiation laboratory in the world and where the Joliot-Curies discovered artificial radioactivity in 1934. Joanny and his groups at Curie and at ESPCI have done pioneering work in polymer theory, molecular motors, non-equilibrium phenomena, and the physics of cell division and tissue growth. When he steps down as Director of ESPCI next year he will assume the position created for him at the centuries-old College de France as the Professor of Soft Matter and Biophysics.

The lectureship, made possible by the strong support of alumni, colleagues, and friends, honors Prof. Charles Knobler and his wife Dr. Carolyn Knobler who have been extraordinary contributors to the science, life, and spirit of the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry over more than five decades.

The 2015 inaugural Carolyn & Charles Knobler lecture was given by Prof. Donald Hilvert (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich) on the rational design of protein cages, the 2016 lecture by Prof. Sharon Glotzer (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) on colloids and nanoparticles, and the 2017 lecture by Prof. Michael Hagan (Brandeis University) on the physics of viral self-assembly.

William Gelbart in front of audience

In his welcoming remarks, Prof. William Gelbart spoke about the Knoblers and the history of the lectureship.  

Prof. Joanny speaking

Prof. Joanny discussed the basic statistical physics of matter out of equilibrium – “active matter” – and its importance for understanding a wide range of fundamental biological processes from protein motors to cell division.

Group photo

At the reception following the lecture – Prof. Charles Knobler, Prof. Jean-Francois Joanny, Dr. Carolyn Knobler, Prof. William Gelbart.

Dr. Joanny with students

Some graduate students and postdocs from the Gelbart-Knobler group pose for a photo with Prof. Joanny.

Photos by Penny Jennings/UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.