Hierarchical Self-Assembly in Liquid Crystals a Rich Menu of Basic Science and Technology from the Origin of Life to Trillion Dollar Markets
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The study of liquid crystals occupies a central place in materials science, serving as a context for encountering and using a variety of exotic structural themes of molecular organization, particularly of soft matter. A key feature of molecular ordering in liquid crystals is fluid hierarchical self-assembly, in which molecular structure provides precise control of fluid self-organization over a wide range of length scales. A notable outcome of such behavior has been the development of liquid crystal displays, a key enabling technology of the portable computing revolution of the twentieth century. I will present some self-assembly themes of current interest in liquid crystal, colloids, clays, and films, and argue that liquid crystal hierarchical self-assembly may have been a key feature of early life.