Prizes & Awards

Emerging Soft Matter Excellence Award

The DSOFT Emerging Soft Matter Excellence (ESME) Award recognizes an exceptional graduate student pursuing research in soft matter physics. Help us continue to offer this new award by giving to our fundraising campaign here.

To be considered for the ESME Award the student must:

  1. be a DSOFT member; 
  2. be currently pursuing a PhD;
  3. not have completed the PhD requirements before the October 27, 2023 application deadline. 

The DSOFT ESME committee will select 12 finalists who will be invited to give a 12-minute talk in a special DSOFT Early Career Awards Symposium at the March Meeting. Finalists will also be invited to a celebratory dinner with the DSOFT Chair and ESME Committee. 

The Awards Symposium will be open to all March Meeting attendees and advertised broadly to DSOFT members. Following the Symposium, the ESME Committee will select the ESME Awardee based on the quality of the candidate’s research, their presentation, and their response to questions. The winner will be announced and recognized at the DSOFT Business Meeting, and will receive $250 honorarium. 

Call for Nominations

To apply for the Emerging Soft Matter Excellence Award, eligible graduate students should complete the ESME Application, which consists of:

  1. An abstract for a contributed talk to the DSOFT program at the March Meeting.**
  2. Proof of abstract submission,
  3. A curriculum vitae (2 page limit - longer CVs will not be considered),
  4. A nominating letter (2 page limit - longer letters will not be considered) from a faculty member familiar with you and your work. A link to provide to your nominator to submit their letter is in the ESME application. Nominators can only make one nomination per year.

Complete Applications are due October 27, 2023. Finalists will be notified in January 2024.

**To be eligible applicants must submit their abstract to the DSOFT sorting category 02.01.01: DSOFT Early Career and Student Awards Session using the general abstract submission site for the March Meeting before the general abstract deadline. In the Special Instructions space, enter "ESME Award or X” where X is your preferred DSOFT sorting category if your abstract is not selected for the ESME Symposium.


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2023 ESME Awardee

Congratulations to Carmen Lee from McMaster University, who is DSOFT’s first Emerging Soft Matter Excellence Award (ESME) winner! Carmen was awarded the prize for research on buckling instabilities in bubble chains.

Buckling instabilities in moving chains of bubbles

Carmen Lee, Kari Dalnoki-Veress

When slender structures are subjected to a compressive force, they will buckle and bend as mediated by the bending modulus of the solid material or the viscosity of the liquid. Here, we explore a slender structure with no internal bending modulus by producing a chain of microscopic monodisperse bubbles in an aqueous bath. The chain rises due to the buoyancy of the bubbles. There is an attractive interaction between the bubbles and if the bubbles are produced quickly such that one bubble is produced and contacts the next, they adhere. Producing many bubbles in this fashion allows us to create a chain of sticky bubbles that are frictionless and have no bending cost. Tuning the rate of bubble production results in buckling instabilities in the rising chain as it moves through the aqueous bath due to the hydrodynamic drag. We predict the buckling onset, buckling amplitude, and speed of the chain using scaling arguments to balance buoyancy and viscous drag.


Nominees for and holders of APS Honors (prizes, awards, and fellowship) and official leadership positions are expected to meet standards of professional conduct and integrity as described in the APS Ethics Guidelines. Violations of these standards may disqualify people from consideration or lead to revocation of honors or removal from office.