Julia Mary Yeomans is a theoretical physicist researching the behaviour of soft condensed matter, such as polymers, gels and liquid crystals, at the tiny scale where viscous forces are high compared to inertial forces. Her work has advanced our understanding of droplets in microchannels, of super-water-repellent surfaces and of how certain bacteria ‘swim’. Julia’s research is important to areas as diverse as inkjet printing and the development of artificial ‘microswimmers’ for medical use.
As well as analytical techniques, Julia applies sophisticated computational methods to model behaviour at close to the molecular level. This brings together hydrodynamics — how fluids behave in motion — and statistical physics, which is the use of probabilistic methods to predict the collective behaviour of many individual systems.