According to M. Tengmark, the traditional strategy for developing technology and the wisdom ensuring that it is beneficial has been learning from mistakes . We invented the automobile, then realized the wisdom of having driving schools (M. Tengmark, The Wisdom race is heating up, in Know this, J. Brockman, 2015). This holds also for science. We invented fire, but even nowadays we are not completely sure on how it intimately works. Wisdom and science lag behind technology, because they would catch up when needed, if ever.
With more powerful technologies as future strong artificial intelligence, learning from mistakes is not desirable. We want to develop our wisdom in advance, so that we can get things right the first time, because that might be the only time we'll have. Learning from mistakes shall be replaced by predictive science.
This is the goal we want to achieve at our lab. We want to move from a reactive approach to a proactive, from modeling for understanding and replicate to predictive simulations. What shall we rely upon for this to happen?
We pinpoint two cornerstones: scientific disciplines must cross link, micro-structural realism shall be captured. Cross-linking allows recognizing the most relevant physics in complex systems and using the unprecedented computational performances of actual super-computers and programming tools. Capturing micro-structural details and reproducing their statistical appearance connect simulations to reality, at the price of increasing complexity. We summarized this novel scientific view with two unseparated paradigms, multi-physics and multi-scale. In fact, m4lab stands for Multiscale Mechanics and Multiphysics of Materials Lab.
Our projects and studies, often in cooperation with companies or with international institutions, cover a broad spectrum of modern and complex problems of social and industrial interest. They are rooted in the so-called white-economy (the entire health services and personal care sector, which has reached a total value of 290 bn euros, equal to 9.4% of Italy's overall production) and green-economy (that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, a means to achieve a resilient economy that provides a better quality of life for all within the ecological limits of the planet).
Case studies range from the swelling and fracturing in energy storage materials, to bio-chemo-mechanical effects in cells and living tissues, from fracture propagation in solids embrittled by different mechanisms, to data-driven high performance computations of effective properties of granular materials at different strain rates.
You will find some examples in these pages. Please, "sneak around" and contribute: dissemination of outcomes and vision, in University academic curricula or in devoted summer schools, in Middle and High-schools to bring awareness to young generation, is a basic part of our mission.