Science speaks a universal language throughout the world. Our PhD students are eager to participate in the worldwide scientific community, and it is my sincere wish that the conference of February 2011 to be held in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam will contribute to widening their horizons, both as humans and as scientists. I therefore hope that each of the projects described here will find the interested audience it deserves, and it would be wonderful if some of them may become the starting points of an international collaboration.
The science of colloids, surfactants, flexible biopolymers and other 'soft' objects is a cross-road of life science, chemistry, physics and biology, nowadays often denoted as 'Soft Matter' science. The research programme of the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry at Wageningen University deals with Life Science in general and Soft Matter and indeed reflects this multidisciplinary nature in various ways, as you will notice when browsing through the conference program and contributions on this website. However, despite the wide scope of topics, there is an underlying texture of basic concepts which guides us in finding answers to the scientific questions that we pose.
One could characterize the central theme of our research as the collective behaviour of molecules and particles that arises from the properties of the entities and their interactions. Of course this covers a plethora of phenomena and systems, and we therefore distinguish essentially four areas of activity: (1) colloids in food and biotechnology, (2) macromolecules at interfaces, (3) environmental physical chemistry and (4) biophysical chemistry. That brings us to a large variation of topics, e.g., phase behaviour and aggregation of biopolymers such as (edible) proteins and polysaccharides, structures formed by such molecules induced by chemical or physical triggers, adsorption and deposition of natural and synthetic polymers, surfactants and nanoparticles, wetting phenomena, electrochemistry and electrokinetics, passive and (bio)active self-assembled polymer networks and gels, biomembranes, and many more. In all these cases, it is the interplay between all the various interparticle forces, thermal motion and external forces which conspire to make or destroy all sorts of microscopic objects (micelles, capsules, networks, clusters) or sometimes macroscopic phases. It is this rich diversity of shapes and processes which is always exciting and intellectually stimulating which drives our scientific curiosity. I hope we can share our enthousiasm with many attendants of the conference visits to come.
Prof. Martien A. Cohen Stuart
|GE-NUS||Talks and lab tours|
|NUS/NTU||Minisymposium, Lab tours|
|University of Kuala Lumpur, near Melakka||Talks and lab tours|
|University of Malaya||Talks and lab tours|
|Dutch Lady Dairy Industries Malaysia||Talks and company visit|
|Ho Chi Minh City|
|Hochiminh City University of Technology||Talks and lab tours|
|Hochiminh City University of Sciences||Talks and lab tours|