Langmuir: 30 years of Fostering Innovation

As is fitting for any milestone anniversary, the journal Langmuir has much to take pride in as it celebrates three decades of publication. For the journal’s 30th anniversary, ACS released a virtual issue that highlights Langmuir’s most significant papers and a video that underlines what makes the journal so compelling. In August, a symposium showcased key authors who were featured in the virtual issue.

The advancement of knowledge highlighted in these commemorative pieces is nothing short of phenomenal. The seminal research published in Langmuir over the past 30 years has had a tremendous influence on both the field and the world, yielding countless applications that range from improved water repellant materials to sophisticated strategies for conserving priceless artifacts.

How has the journal achieved this over its long stretch of history? By building on its strengths without altering its chemistry.

A thriving publication built on a solid foundation

From the start, Langmuir set out to foster innovation with a broad scope that would encourage interdisciplinary thinking.

In the journal’s inaugural edition, founding editor Arthur Adamson wrote, “We intend Langmuir to be a quality journal that surface and colloid chemists will enjoy reading—not just because of articles in their specialized field, but also because the collection of papers in each issue provides a stimulating awareness of what other specialists are doing and thinking.”

“It was interdisciplinary before the word was fashionable,” notes Managing Editor Jonathan Mallett, Ph.D. “One of the ways science develops is by seeing parallels between one field and the next.”

While the journal has gone digital and recently launched a presence on Twitter (@ACS_Langmuir), it has stayed true to its broad scope and uncompromising focus on quality, rigor and significance.

Langmuir developed its reputation based on the significance of its research; we encourage innovation by publishing significant developments and new ideas,” says Mallett. “This has been assured by developing contacts with people doing the best research; inviting them to submit reviews; maintaining a high quality, rigorous review process; and choosing really good editors.”

A year of looking back

In a tribute to Langmuir’s most significant research, the editors released a virtual issue with some of the most relevant, highly cited and significant papers from the journal’s history. Scanning the names of the represented authors offers a snapshot of the field’s key players over the past 30 years.

An accompanying 30th anniversary video features the perspectives of former Editor-in-Chief David Whitten, Ph.D., and current Editor-in-Chief Francois Winnik, Ph.D. The video offers an overview of the journal’s history and captures both editors’ thoughts about its contributions to the field and society.

Langmuir has formed a unique contribution to ACS Publications,” Whitten notes in the video. He also pointed to research published in Langmuir that has led to the preservation of cultural treasures. “A lot of the concepts and understandings that have been developed by people doing fundamental science in Langmuir have been used in the conservation of art and the conservation of uncovered artifacts, like the Terracotta warriors in China.”

In the video, Dr. Winnik references essential papers that have influenced the field, including research on dynamic hydrophobicity of surfaces, which has led to better water repellant materials, and research on the preparation of gold nanoparticles, which are used in such applications as bioimaging. She also calls out a series of articles written by George Whitesides, Ph.D., on the formation of very simple monolayers as some of the most important in the journal’s history.

It is fitting, then, that Dr. Whitesides was the first speaker at the journal’s 30th anniversary symposium, “30 Years of Langmuir: Looking Back and Forward,” scheduled during the 2015 ACS Fall National Meeting. The morning symposium featured six key researchers whose work was included in the virtual issue and whose contributions to Langmuir have led to enduring transformations in the field. The presenters spoke almost exclusively on their work from the virtual issue, focusing on key elements of their research and results that are still relevant today. Some of their talks reached back more than 20 years, providing an update on work that has proven to still be significant.

 

Changes ahead prepare journal for its next 30 years

For a year devoted to commemorating its extensive history, Langmuir began 2015 as significant changes were being made. After 17 years at the helm, Dr. Whitten stepped down as editor-in-chief and Dr. Winnik officially took over in January 2015.

“Dr. Whitten was a tremendous editor, who was always one to embrace innovation,” says Mallett. “We are also very excited that Dr. Winnik agreed to take over leadership. She has strong international connections and is very much in touch with movements in the field around the world.”

Dr. Winnik has set an ambitious vision to further Langmuir’s reach over the next five years. In particular, she aims to increase emphasis on the life sciences, continue improving diversity to the features section, increase the geographical reach of the Board and Senior Editors, and be more competitive in author outreach.

Three new senior editors have also been hired since the start of the year: Walter Richtering, Ph.D., of Germany, and Rob Corn, Ph.D., and Joe Schlenoff, Ph.D., of the United States. Both Corn and Richtering are featured in Langmuir’s 30th anniversary edition.

Even with some evolution in the works, readers can expect that the foundational elements of Langmuir will endure with time: The journal’s dedication to innovation, groundbreaking research, and its authors and readers.

“I am really excited about the way we really take into account the need of our authors and work with them, and work with the reviewers and the editors to really, together, find a very interesting forum for reporting science,” says Dr. Winnik.