Since 1998, it has become a tradition of the Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics to publish a special issue each December featuring research papers presented in the Division of Polymer Physics (DPOLY) program of the March Meeting of the American Physical Society (APS)1-one of the largest international meetings on polymer science and physics. In 2005,2 the guest editor of the special issue, Prof. Kari Dalnoki-Veress, introduced a new format that starts the special issue with an Introduction by the guest editor(s), followed by a Viewpoints section collecting personal views from researchers on various frontier research topics in polymer science, and ends with a section collecting the contributed articles detailing research presented at the March APS Meeting. In this issue, we adopt a similar format. For the Viewpoint section, we have articles from well-established members of the polymer physics community (including Profs. Anna C. Balazs, Steve Granick, Günter Reiter, and Michael Rubinstein), as well as opinions from several up-and-coming researchers who have new and exciting ideas to share (including Profs. Zhiqun Lin, Connie Roth, and Chang Ryu).
The Viewpoint articles cover a diverse range of topics, which also reflects the current state of the field. Prof. A. C. Balazs describes the design of self-propelled and adaptive materials using Belousov-Zhabotinsky polymer gels that could potentially lead to the creation of “life like” motile and self-reinforcing objects. Prof. Steve Granick and coworkers explain why and how the study of synthetic polymers by single-molecule fluorescence methods can probe the potentially unique questions that the well-established macroscopic measurements, which rely on statistical averages, cannot address. Prof. Günter Reiter and coworker discuss their views on the origin of the diverse macroscopic properties found in thin polymer films, such as glass transition temperature and wetting/dewetting properties, and suggest differences in sample preparation as a possible cause for the reported discrepancies. Prof. Michael Rubinstein (this year's DPOLY Polymer Physics Prize Winner) describes the evolution of polymer physics through a series of examples focused on entangled polymers and polyelectrolytes, and he proposes a series of open questions in polymer physics that should challenge the polymer science community for the remainder of the current century. Prof. Zhiqun Lin discusses different experimental methods making use of controlled evaporation under confined geometries to produce intriguing, highly ordered polymer structures over large areas. By flipping to the cover page of this issue, you will see some of the spectacular structures that he and his group generated using this powerful approach! Prof. Connie Roth (the current UKPPG/DPOLY Polymer Lecture Exchange Recipient) reviews the recent studies on whether ‘rejuvenation’ by increasing the temperature of an aged polymer glass is equivalent to increasing its mechanical load, and shares her views about the important questions arising from these observations. Prof. Chang Ryu and coworkers highlight current methods for the adsorption-based interaction chromatographic purification and analysis of polymeric systems, with a specific emphasis on block copolymers.
It has been our pleasure to be involved in putting this special issue together. We would like to thank all the authors who contributed to this issue and the anonymous reviewers who evaluated the papers. We would also like to express our special gratitude to Prof. Gregory B. McKenna, the consulting editor of this journal, for encouragement, and Ms. Katie Simmons, the assistant managing editor, for the enormous support throughout the process, without which we would not have been able to accomplish the task. Finally, we would like to acknowledge Prof. Ali Dhinojwala, who organized a stimulating APS DPOLY technical program that included 709 oral presentations and 158 posters.