Jordan Shivers (email | web): is a PhD candidate supervised by Prof. Fred MacKintosh in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University. His current research uses theoretical and computational approaches to investigate the mechanics and dynamics of disordered soft materials, with a focus on the structural constituents of living cells and tissues. Before Rice, he received his BSE in Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University, where he worked with Prof. Cliff Brangwynne on microfluidic techniques for studying developing nematodes. In his free time, he enjoys running, baking, playing chess, and doing his best to train his free-spirited dog, Stanley.

Talk details: Strain-induced critical slowing of stress relaxation in disordered networks
Biopolymer networks stiffen dramatically in response to applied strain, a phenomenon that provides living tissues with exceptional mechanical resilience and enables long-range force transmission by cells. Recent work has shown that strain-induced stiffening in disordered networks involves a phase transition between distinct mechanical states, with emergent critical behavior near the onset of rigidity. In this talk, I will show that solvent-immersed random networks exhibit a relaxation time that diverges at a critical point in applied strain, resulting in tunable power-law rheology.