Megan Litster, Thomas Bussey (University of Nevada – Las Vegas, USA), Kent Crippen (University of Florida, USA), Wendy Ho, Cindy Kern, MaryKay Orgill, Sarah Wood (University of Nevada – Las Vegas, USA)
Self-assembly has become a major research focus in many disciplines, including chemistry and the life sciences. Despite the fact that self-assembly processes are ubiquitous in both nature and scientific research—or, perhaps, because of this fact—the concept of self-assembly has become quite ill-defined (Whitesides, 2002). In an effort to clarify what is meant when the term “self-assembly” is used, we surveyed 323 scientists who conduct research involving self-assembly processes. Analysis of the survey data suggests that some aspects of researchers’ definitions of self-assembly are discipline-specific. In particular, we observed a marked difference between the distinguishing characteristics of self-assembly identified by life scientists and chemists. In this presentation, we will discuss the observed differences between life scientists’ perceptions of self-assembly and those of chemists.