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Michael Cates

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Michael Elmhirst Cates FRS FRSE born 5 May 1961 is a British physicist He is the 19th Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and has held this position since 1 July 2015[1] He was previously Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, and has held a Royal Society Research Professorship since 2007[2]

His work focuses on the theory of soft matter, such as polymers, colloids, gels, liquid crystals, and granular material A recurring goal of his research is to create a mathematical model that predicts the stress in a flowing material as a functional of the flow history of that material Such a mathematical model is called a constitutive equation He has worked on theories of active matter, particularly dense suspensions of self-propelled particles which can include motile bacteria His interests also include fundamental field theories of active systems in which time-reversal symmetry T-symmetry, and more generally, CPT symmetry is absent Such theories are characterised by nonzero steady-state Entropy production

At Edinburgh, Cates was the Principal Investigator of an EPSRC Programme Grant, awarded in 2011, entitled Design Principles for New Soft Materials[3][4] On his departure for Cambridge, Cait MacPhee took over as Principal Investigator Cates remains an Honorary Professor at Edinburgh


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Academic career
  • 3 Honours
  • 4 Works
  • 5 References

Early life

Cates was born on 5 May 1961[5] He read Natural Sciences and earned a PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1985, where he studied with Sam Edwards

Academic career

Cates was a research fellow and lecturer at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge before moving to Edinburgh in 1995


Cates won the Bingham Medal of the US Society of Rheology in 2016[6] He had previously won the 2013 Weissenberg Award of the European Society of Rheology[7] and the 2009 Gold Medal of the British Society of Rheology He was awarded the 2009 Dirac Prize by the Institute of Physics He won the 1991 Maxwell Medal and Prize He has served as an elected member of the Council of the Royal Society, and chairs the International Scientific Committee of ESPCI ParisTech He was an honorary fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge from 2013 until 2016, when he became instead a senior research fellow


Michael Cates has over 300 refereed scientific publications His H-index is 85

Highly cited publications include:

  • Theory of the Grafted Polymer Brush, ST Milner, TA Witten and ME Cates, Macromolecules 21, 2610–2619 1988
  • Statics and dynamics of worm-like surfactant micelles, ME Cates and SJ Candau, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 2, 6969–6892 1990
  • Reptation of living polymers: dynamics of entangled polymers in the presence of reversible chain-scission reactions, ME Cates, Macromolecules 20, 2289–2296 1987
  • Rheology of soft glassy materials, P Sollich, F Lequeux, P Hebraud and ME Cates, Physical Review Letters 78, 2020–2023 1997
  • Jamming, force chains, and fragile matter, ME Cates, JP Wittmer, JP Bouchaud and P Claudin, Physical Review Letters 81, 1841–1844 1998
  • Multiple glassy states in a simple model system, KN Pham et al, Science 296, 104–106 2002
  • Colloidal jamming at interfaces: A route to fluid-bicontinuous gels, K Stratford et al, Science 309, 2198–2201 2005
  • Statistical Mechanics of Interacting Run-and-Tumble Bacteria, J Tailleur and M E Cates, Physical Review Letters 100, 218103 2008


  1. ^ "Cambridge University Reporter No 6380" 18 March 2015 Retrieved 2015-03-19 
  2. ^ http://royalsocietyorg/grants/case-studies/michael-cates/
  3. ^ "Design Principles for New Soft Materials" Gowepsrcacuk Retrieved 2014-08-26 
  4. ^ ECFP "Design Principles for New Soft Materials" University of Edinburgh Retrieved 2014-08-26 
  5. ^ "CATES, Prof Michael Elmhirst" Who's Who 2014 A & C Black Retrieved 2014-05-05 
  6. ^ "Bingham Medalists" 
  7. ^ "Weissenberg Award to Michael Cates | The European Society of Rheology" Rheology-esrnet 4 April 2013 Retrieved 2014-08-26 

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