Penn has one of the strongest soft matter groups in the world, with many high-profile faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences, particularly Physics & Astronomy, as well as the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The field of soft matter, which concerns dense, many-particle systems in which quantum mechanics does not play an explicit role, spans many disciplines ranging from physics and engineering to biology and medicine, and has been a focus of the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM) at Penn, one of the first interdisciplinary academic laboratories devoted to materials research in the US. Penn physics faculty have been instrumental in helping soft matter physics achieve division status in the American Physical Society, the US professional society representing physicists. Not only is Doug Durian the current chair but Randy Kamien was the first chair of the Topical Group on Soft Matter (GSOFT), which has now become DSOFT, and Eleni Katifori is currently a Member-at-Large.
See the article in APS News about DSOFT: