Piotr Szymczak

Institute of Theoretical Physics
Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw
Pasteura 5, 02-093 Warszawa, Poland
telephone: (+48 22) 55 32 909
fax: (+48 22) 621 94 75
email: piotrek[at]fuw.edu.pl

Our group works on a variety of topics at the intersection of fluid dynamics, geophysics, biophysics, and physics of growth processes: from the formation of river networks and cave conduits to the dynamics of protein and DNA molecules. We combine experiments, theory, and large-scale numerical simulations to understand physical mechanisms governing the structure and dynamics of the complex natural systems.


Current research topics include:


nonequilibrium growth processes, in particular dissolution in porous media and rock fractures





mechanical properties of protein molecules





dynamics of soft matter systems



Publication highlights: (see here for the full list)

Z. Hou, D. Woś, C. Tschegg, A. Rogowitz, A.H.N. Rice, L. Nasdala, F. Fusseis, P. Szymczak, B. Grasemann, Three-dimensional mineral dendrites reveal a non-classical crystallization pathway, Geology, 51, 626-630 2023 [pdf] [supplementary] [movie1][movie2] [press coverage]

M. Gruziel, K. Thyagarajan, G. Dietler, A. Stasiak, M. L. Ekiel-Jeżewska, P. Szymczak, Periodic motion of sedimenting flexible knots, Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 127801 (2018) [pdf] [supplementary] [movie1][movie2][movie3][movie4][movie5][movie6][movie7][movie8] [APS physics synopsis]

P. Szymczak, Periodic forces trigger knot untying during translocation of knotted proteins, Sci. Rep., 6, 21702 (2016) [pdf] [movie1] [movie2]

Y. Cohen, O. Devauchelle, H. F. Seybold, R. S. Yi, P. Szymczak, D. Rothman, Path selection in the growth of rivers., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2015, [pdf] [press coverage]

M. Pecelerowicz, A. Budek, P. Szymczak, Effective description of the interaction between anisotropic viscous fingers, EPL, 108, 14001, 2014 (Editor's choice) [pdf]

P. Szymczak, A. J. C. Ladd, The initial stages of cave formation: Beyond the one-dimensional paradigm, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 301, 424-432, 2011 [pdf] Press Coverage: [Science Editor's Choice] [Science News] [Wired]

P. Szymczak, M. Cieplak, Hydrodynamic effects in proteins, J. Phys. Cond. Matt., 23, 033102, 2011 (invited review) [pdf]

J. Sułkowska, P. Sułkowski, P. Szymczak, M. Cieplak, Untying knots in proteins, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 132, 13954-13956, 2010 [pdf] (Press Coverage)

P. Szymczak, H. Janovjak, Periodic forces trigger a complex mechanical response in ubiquitin, J. Mol. Biol., 390, 443, 2009 [pdf] [frontcover]

P. Szymczak, A. J. C. Ladd, Wormhole formation in dissolving fractures, J. Geophys. Res., 114, B06203, 2009 [pdf]

J. Sułkowska, P. Sułkowski, P. Szymczak, M. Cieplak, Stabilizing effect of knots on proteins, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 105, 19714, 2008 [pdf] (Press Coverage)