About the ISMC

About the ISMC

The History and Future of the ISMC

History and Future of the ISMC

What is Soft Matter?

The term “soft matter” (matière molle) was coined by Madeleine Veyssié in Orsay around 1970. 

It gained greater prominence when it was used by Pierre-Gilles de Gennes in his 1991 Nobel Prize speech which emphasized complexity and flexibility.

ISMC - European Origins

1st ISMC, October 1-4, 2007, Aachen, Germany

With a charter of establishing  an interdisciplinary event which connected theoretical, computational & experimental physics, physical chemistry, material science and biology – this first conference laid the groundwork for events to come in identifying, building and linking interests between disciplines concerning soft matter featuring topics in biomaterials, membranes, cell biophysics, colloids, glasses, gels, microfluidics, nanocomposites polymers, rheology, self-assembly, interfaces, and the dynamics of complex fluids. 

The conference was organized by SoftComp and the local Organizing Committee comprised of G. Gompper, J.K.G. Dhont, and D. Richter.

Flyer used for the 1st ISMC

2nd ISMC July 5-8, 2010, Granada, Spain

Planned and organized by Prof. R. Hidalgo-Álvarez and the Biocolloid and Fluid Physics Group, the second event was supported by the Donostia International Physics Center, Forschungszentrum Jülich, and the University of Granada.  

Read more about the 2nd ISMC

At this ISMC 2010 S. Fraden and M. Rubinstein came up with idea of organizing similar events in the United States.

3rd ISMC, September 15-19, 2013, Rome, Italy

The event was organized at Sapienza University and covered biological soft matter, colloids, dynamics of complex fluids, membranes, polymers, self-assembly, surfaces & interfaces, and soft nanotechnology.

In 2011-2013, there was an effort to unify APS soft-matter-related divisions and topical groups resulting in a large soft matter interest group at the  2012 APS March Meeting & the creation of the APS Soft Matter Group (GSOFT) in 2014. 

In 2013-2014, there was an attempt to organize an ISMC in the United States with the help of ACS Colloids & The Surface Chemistry Division. This however, did not materialize. Again in 2015, the first American ISMC was planned by the Royal Society of Chemistry to be held at Harvard University which also did not come to fruition. 

4th ISMC, September 12-16, 2016, Grenoble, France

The event was organized by scientists from Grenoble University and other research organizations and facilities including ILL, ESRF, CEA, CNRS, and INPG.  The event included a Soft Matter symposium in which Professor Damien Baigl was presented with the 2016 Soft Matter Lectureship award.

In 2016, APS GSOFT explored organizing a conference in the United States, but once again, did not materialize.

In October of 2017, the 29th IUPAP General Assembly resolved to establish Working Group-15 : Soft Matter. Group 15 would carry with it a mandate of 5 key points.

To organize/assist in organization of an International Conference “Soft Matter Around the World” – which rotates every 3 years to each geographic region(Europe-Africa, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific).

To coordinate soft-matter-related regional, national & local conferences, meetings & workshops. 

To coordinate soft matter education, such as summer/winter schools and short courses and help organizethem if a need appears.

To promote soft matter research through information exchange, publicity, prizes, publications, etc…

To strengthen the conncetions between academic and industrial soft matter research and development through outreach events, short courses, etc…

5th ISMC, June 3-7, 2019, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

The conference was backed by the SoftComp Network of Excellence, its Organizing Committee was chaired by Simon Titmuss, and  its International Program Committee was chaired by Wilson Poon. 

ISMC - Around the World in 3 Years

Circumnavigating the globe to bring soft matter discoveries to each continent.

The first non-European ISMC planned for summer 2020 at MIT was cancelled due to the pandemic.

6th ISMC, September 19-23, 2022, Poznan, Poland

The ISMC 2022 was organized by the NanoBioMedical Centre of the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, and held at the Poznań Congress Center.

This event was the first event of the International Soft Matter Series: Around the World in Three Years and the successor of the popular European ISMC’s held every 3 years from 2007 to 2022. 

7th ISMC, September 4-8, 2023, Osaka, Japan

The 2023 event marked the first ISMC to be held outside of Europe. It was hosted by the Japanese Soft Matter Society and chaired by Ryoichi Yamamoto and Hajime Tanaka. It was the second event in the inagural “Soft Matter Around the World in Three Years” cycle. 

8th ISMC, July 29-August 2, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

The 2024 event is organized by the Soft Matter Association of the Americas (SMAA) and chaired by Ronit Freeman, Michael Rubinstein and Jan Genzer. It completes the first cycle of the “Soft Matter Around the World” series coordinated by the IUPAP Working Group 15.

With this event, the ISMC makes its debut in the Americas. 

The 9th ISMC is planned to be held, 29 September – 3 October, 2025 Minoa Palace Resort, Chania, Crete, Greece

The 10th ISMC is planned to be held at Burla Institute of Technology, Goa, India from May 25-29, 2026.