Soft Matter Emerging Investigators 2021

Darrin Pochan
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, USA. E-mail:

It is a pleasure to introduce you to the celebration of early career soft matter scientists and engineers in the 2021 Emerging Investigators collection of Soft Matter. Early in the existence of the journal, the Soft Matter editorial board came up with an idea to focus on the exciting work of new investigators. The thinking was that some of the best, most novel research arises naturally from new research laboratory leaders, and that Soft Matter was the perfect venue to highlight those researchers embracing interdisciplinary goals. At Soft Matter, we are proud to introduce the Emerging Investigators collection, with this year's international group working on a fascinating array of topics spanning chemistry, physics, biology, engineering and applications. Some of the themes running through the collection are the interesting mechanics underlying living cells, gel rupture, and vesicles under stress; the dynamics of coacervates, cell assemblies, droplets, fiber-wrapping and filament propulsion; and the use of particles to create networks, motility and biocompatible composites. The work is based on both experimental and computational/theoretical foundations. Most importantly, you will find every paper delving into different combinations of synthetic chemical methods, physical/structural methods of characterization and biological tools, as well as targeted applications for soft matter materials and phenomena.

So, if you are interested in finding out what a “jamming-based, switchable adhesive” is, read on! You will be simultaneously taught and entertained by the work of all of the 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators.

Darrin Pochan, Editor-in-Chief

This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2021