Vol. 22, No. 1
from IUPAC-Sponsored Symposia
International Symposium on Molecular Mobility and Order in Polymer
7-10 June 1999,
St. Petersburg, Russia
This symposium continued the series of St. Petersburg
meetings sponsored by IUPAC and organized by the Institute of Macromolecular
Compounds of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and the Department
of General and Technical Chemistry of the RAS. This meeting was also
supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the St. Petersburg
Research Center of the RAS. The symposium took place in the House of
Scientists (the former Duke Vladimirís palace) located on the
Neva River embankment in the picturesque center of the city close to
the well-known Hermitage museum.
This symposium (as well as the first one in 1994) was
oriented more toward dynamic and relaxation phenomena, whereas discussions
at the second symposium (May 1996) were focused mainly on problems of
structure and order. Of course, these shifts in the main thrust of the
symposium were never too dramatic because mobility in polymer physics
and in physical chemistry, just as in real life, is inseparable from
the order (or disorder!) of the systems.
Principal topics of the symposium included the following:
- conformation and mobility of macromolecules in solutions, melts,
and networks in strong external fields
- structure and properties of liquid-crystalline polymers
- block copolymers
- polymer layers, brushes, and micelles
- polymer complexes and membranes
- structure and dynamics of branched polymer systems, stars, dendrimers,
All systems considered share a common general feature in that the order
presented in them is "soft, and a pronounced molecular mobility exists
The symposium featured 18 invited plenary lectures, 32 contributed
lectures, and 180 poster presentations. This meeting was a truly international
one, with lectures and posters presented by scientists from Canada,
the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy,
Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia,
Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United States, Uzbekistan, the Ukraine, and
the United Kingdom. Plenary and contributed lectures were presented
by eminent, classical leaders in polymer science (such as Profs. S.
F. Edwards, T. M. Birshtein, G. J. Fleer, K. L. Ngai, Yu. Ya. Gotlib,
etc.) and also by well-known, active younger researchers. The dynamic
poster session was accompanied by very lively discussions.
A short account of the materials presented at the symposium was published
in the book of abstracts made available to participants. Some invited
plenary and contributed lectures are published as Volume 146 of Macromolecular
Symposia (1999) by Wiley-VCH in Weinheim, Germany. Although not
all the speakers will be able to present their lectures in this volume
(some of the material had been published earlier or submitted elsewhere),
it will provide a good representation of the scope of the meeting and
the problems discussed.
Because of the close interconnection between different topics, materials
presented at the symposium could be divided largely into two main areas:
"mobility-structure-order" and "structure-order-properties".
Lectures devoted to polymer dynamics (mobility-structure-order)
described various types of relaxation phenomena on different time and
length scales (from nanoscale to macroscopic scale), which were investigated
by a broad variety of experimental methods, including polarized luminescence,
differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), dielectric relaxation and vibrational
spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and quasi-electric neutron
and X-ray scattering, among others. Theoretical work and computer simulations
emphasized a detailed study of the collective motions in complex multichain
systems and the effects of strong external or internal fields (as in
crystalline phases). Theoretical approaches to unsolved problems of
dynamics in melts, networks, and semi-ordered glassy systems were considered,
taking into account the hierarchy of molecular motions and interactions.
Lectures on structure-order-properties were devoted to
study of the interconnection between chemical constitution, morphology,
and order for a broad class of macromolecular systems (see principal
topics listed above), including biological polyelectrolyte systems (liposomal
membranes), hydrogels, block copolymers, monolayers, mesophases, etc.
The many experimental methods employed included electron and X-ray spectroscopy,
nonlinear optic phenomena fluorescent probes, and various experimental
methods for the investigation of polyelectrolytes. Principal interest
in the structure-order-properties area is centered around
systems with complex chemical constitution and morphology, such as polyelectrolytes,
copolymers, mesophases, and glassy states with local ordering.
This symposium was well organized. The weather was beautiful, and participants
were able to enjoy sightseeing in St. Petersburg and its near suburbs.
The organizers of the symposium are very grateful to IUPAC for its sponsorship
and help in publishing the lectures presented.
The organizing committee believes that this sysmposium has made a significant
contribution to understanding the interconnection of mobility and order
in complex and heterogeneous polymer systems, including polyelectrolytes
and biopolymers. Continuation of this series of symposia should be very
effective and fruitful for the subsequent development of polymer science
and the fostering of cooperation among theorists, experimentalists,
and scientists from different countries, schools, and communities of
Professor V. A. Kabanov
Department of Polymer Science
Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia