Session S67b (Wednesday, 2pm, CHEM 102)

P834: Researchers' perceptions of self-assembly: Capturing a field in scientific revolution

MaryKay Orgill, Thomas Bussey (University of Nevada – Las Vegas, USA), Kent Crippen (University of Florida, USA), Wendy Ho, Cindy Kern, Megan Litster, Sarah Wood (University of Nevada – Las Vegas, USA)

Self-assembly has received a significant amount of attention in both the research literature and the popular press as of late. In fact, self-assembly has been described as one of the “big ideas” underpinning nanoscience, and an entire issue of Science was devoted to “Supramolecular Chemistry and Self-Assembly” in 2002. Despite the importance of self-assembly, there is no one general definition upon which researchers agree. This is reflective of the emergent nature of the field. In this project, we surveyed self-assembly researchers in order to identify the characteristics they use to define self-assembly (N = 323). These researchers were asked to provide their own definitions, respond to visual representations, and comment on others’ definitions of self-assembly. In this presentation, we will discuss the genesis and implementation of this research project. We will also share examples of researchers’ own definitions of self-assembly and discuss the implications of the variation in their responses.

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