The European Physical Journal E — Soft Matter
Edited by A. M. Donald, J.-F. Joanny, M. Möller & G. Reiter
The study of ‘soft matter’ has burgeoned as an academic discipline during the past generation. Its prominence has matched the study of ‘hard matter’ — traditional condensed-matter physics. The scope of ‘soft matter’ is larger than physics, however. The preoccupation is with systems (polymers, biopolymers, membranes, self-assembled nanostructures) where the energetic interactions are commonly so ‘soft’ that complexity, disorder and the capacity to manipulate and tune structure and dynamics emerge in fundamentally new ways. The worldwide community is struggling to deal with the fact that these systems straddle so large a spectrum of traditional disciplines: not just physics, but also chemistry, biophysics and some mechanics.
Seven years ago these considerations led the American Physical Society to launch a new journal, Physical Review E, which immediately established itself as a premier archival journal in terms of quality and prestige. It is altogether fitting that the European Physical Society should do the same. Here three distinguished European journals — Il Nuovo Cimento D, Journal de Physique and Zeitschrift für Physik B — seek rebirth in the launch of a blue-ribbon European journal devoted to this new discipline.
The journal's ambitious goal is to develop a wider readership and more eclectic submissions than would be expected of a physics journal. Among the articles published during the initial six months the quality is high, but the flavour is not yet really different from that of Physical Review E. Representation from other subfields of soft matter will probably grow. Every scientific research library will want to hold this blue-ribbon archival journal.