Thomas Mason

UCLA Chemistry and UCLA Physics
Office: 3040 Young Hall
Phone: (310) 206-0828
I develop scientific principles for understanding complex structure and dynamics in multi-body interacting systems based on experiments involving dispersions of microscale to nanoscale particles, droplets, and polymers. Thermal motion of probe particles in polymer solutions and other complex fluids can be used to measure frequency dependent mechanical response through passive microrheology (Mason & Weitz, Phys. Rev. Lett. 1995; review Squires & Mason, Ann. Rev. Fluid Mech. 2010). Roughness controlled depletion attractions (Zhao & Mason, Phys. Rev. Lett. 2007) have enabled the experimental realization of near-ideal 2D systems of hard Brownian shapes; these systems are yielding new understanding of dense phases and transitions (see e.g. Zhao, Bruinsma, and Mason, PNAS 2011). I am also interesting in understanding how biomaterials, such as DNA and protein, adapt to artificial synthetic geometries. This has led to the creation of nanoscale virus-like droplets (VLDs) that are effectively viral protein cages that self-assemble in the aqueous phase around anionically stabilized oil nanodroplets (Chang et al., ACS Nano 2008).

2003 - current: Professor at UCLA Chem/Biochem and Phys/Astro, CA
1997 - 2003: Research Scientist at ExxonMobil Research and Eng. Co., NJ
1996 - 1997: Postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins U., MD
1995 - 1996: Postdoctoral researcher at CNRS Paul Pascal, Bordeaux, France
1989 - 1995: Graduate student at Princeton U., NJ (MA 1991, PhD 1995 in
1985 - 1989: Undergraduate student at U. Maryland, College Park (BS physics
high honors & BSEE, summa cum laude)

Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2008
NSF Career Award, 2005
McTague Chair of Physical Chemistry at UCLA, 2003 - 2008
Joseph Henry Prize in Physics at Princeton U., 1989