Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Division

2013 Journal of Polymer Science Award in Honor of Ryan Hayward


The Journal of Polymer Science is delighted to recognize Prof. Ryan Hayward for his contribution to the field of polymer science with its Innovation Award.

Now in its second year, the Journal of Polymer Science Innovation Award was established to celebrate significant research innovation and achievement in a polymer scientist under 40. In recognition of the award winner, a symposium is hosted in association with the Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering (PMSE) Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) at the ACS Fall meeting.

Ryan is currently an Associate Professor of Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His impact in the polymer science field is evident from the strong publication record he has compiled in his first six years in his current position, as well as the numerous prestigious early career awards he has won, including the NSF CAREER award, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the 2011 ACS Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry Unilever Award, and a 3M Nontenured Faculty Award. His research approach is characterized by a curiosity and desire for new discovery that make broad innovation a natural part of his work.

Ryan is probably best known for his work on instabilities of soft polymer interfaces, a field in which his experiments have provided fundamental understanding of shape instabilities that arise upon swelling of constrained and patterned hydrogel sheets. He has used this insight to develop innovative routes to switchable polymer surfaces and micro‐devices. He further extended this understanding to designer‐type instabilities in thin films with his recent work in Science, “Designing responsive buckled surfaces by halftone gel lithography”, demonstrating a powerful and inventive way to create complex, predictable 3D structures from thin sheets with arbitrary 2D geometries.  

In addition, Ryan has made important contributions in the area of non‐equilibrium assemblies of polymers and nanoparticles. By again pairing fundamental studies with the development of approaches to fabricate materials with tailored structures, he has shown, for example, how amphiphilic block copolymers can induce hydrodynamic instabilities of oil/water interfaces, and how gelation of nanoparticles can kinetically arrest demixing of polymer blends.

By achieving both breadth and depth in his work, Ryan has built a research group whose primary expertise in physical experimentation is bolstered by considerable capabilities in both synthetic materials chemistry and numerical analysis and modeling.

Ryan received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2004 working with Professors Edward J. Kramer and Bradley F. Chmelka. His dissertation focused on controlling the morphology – from molecular to macroscopic – of mesoscopic inorganic films from self-assembled templates. Previously, he graduated Summa Cum Laude with his B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University in 1999 and worked as an undergraduate researcher with Professors Ilhan A. Aksay and Dudley A. Saville. From 2004 – 2005, Ryan was Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University, mentored by Professor David A. Weitz.

The creativity and scientific impact of Ryan’s work are a sound reflection of the exciting work we are witnessing across the field of polymer science, and we are delighted to present him with the 2013 Journal of Polymer Science Innovation Award.


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