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The first meeting of the Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on Complex Active and Adaptive Material Systems brings together junior researchers from our diverse and interdisciplinary field to discuss and share ideas on designing biomimetic material systems, with an emphasis on structure at all scales. Our GRS seeks to introduce early-career materials scientists, physicists, engineers, biologists, and chemists to one another with the goal of formulating new ways to inscribe the vital functions found in biological systems into synthetic materials and complex structures. Topics will include recent experimental and theoretical advances in biomimetic soft matter, life-like active materials, non-equilibrium statistical physics, and multiscale mechanics of biological systems. We will address the field’s competing need for convergence and multiplicity between experts in biological and engineering science. This meeting is an opportunity for graduate students and post-docs to present their intriguing and unpublished research in these and related topics. It will emphasize the exchange of ideas and experiences between people and disciplines, leading to new collaborations and career development. We will explore the role that modeling, data, and analytics can provide for the whole multi-scale and adaptive material community. Talks by students and post-docs, selected from submitted abstracts, will complement the main poster session. A mentorship component entitled "Visuals, Audio and Action: Multimedia and the Art of Communicating Science" will bring together experts on communicating science beyond peer-reviewed articles, such as in magazines, graphic design, public speaking, and art.