The Bronze Medal rewards the first works of researchers who are specialists in their field. This distinction represents an encouragement from the CNRS to pursue research that is already well underway and fruitful.
Frank Smallenburg performs numerical simulations to study the behavior of a wide range of colloids – gel-liquid mixtures containing suspended particles. During his postdocs in Italy and Germany, he focused on fundamental questions such as understanding the self-assembly process of molecular and colloidal systems, i.e. their transition to the solid state, to better understand their properties (structure, defect dynamics, etc.). He also demonstrates an unexpected phenomenon: entropy can stabilize the liquid state of colloids down to the lowest temperatures. Since joining the CNRS, he has been interested in the structure and dynamics of vitreous materials such as glass. For this purpose, he is developing innovative artificial intelligence approaches that are very promising. Finally, he actively promotes numeric simulation methods by creating, for example, a demonstration site in soft matter physics accessible to all.