Title: Theoretical design of hard and soft biomimetic materialsTheoretical design of hard and soft biomimetic materialsC. Nadir KaplanPaulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard UniversityRealizing next-generation materials with intricate shapes or complex signal processing abilities to perform adaptive functions greatly benefits inspiration from biological systems. In the first part of this talk, I will present a geometrical theory that explains the growth and form of carbonate-silica precipitates, which exemplify biomineralization-inspired formation of inorganic brittle microarchitectures. The theory predicts new assembly pathways of arbitrarily complex morphologies and thereby guides the synthesis of light-guiding optical structures. The second part will concern a soft matter analog of information storage and differentiation in living organisms, which constantly process dynamic environmental signals. Specifically, I will introduce a continuum framework of a hydrogel system that utilizes unique cascades of mechanical responses, transport and complexation of chemical stimuli to expand the sensing repertoire beyond standard hydrogels that rapidly equilibrate to their surroundings. Altogether, the confluence of theory and experiment enables the design of optimized hard or soft biomimetic materials for applications ranging from bottom-up manufacturing to soft robotics to data encoding.