III International Workshop on Current Problems in Complex Fluids: Self-assembling Systems, Oaxaca, Mexico, July 10-14, 2001 This workshop was a satellite of Statphys 21. Its aim was to foster collaboration between scientists across the spectrum of research related to complex fluids and their interfaces. This research area is rapidly developing owing to its applications in everyday life as well as its relation to the behaviour of biological cells. During the past two decades our understanding of complex fluids has been profoundly transformed, this research area has matured and considerable progress has been attained. The most characteristic property of these systems is the self-assembly of molecules into a large variety of complicated structures, thus the title of the conference. Since these structures may be visualized as layers of surface-active molecules, between two otherwise immiscible fluids, which fill, in various ways, the three-dimensional space, this research area is intimately related to that of amphiphilic bilayers, the formation of vesicles and the understanding of biological membranes. Under certain conditions, these layers can lower the surface tension between the two immiscible liquids by several orders of magnitude. In these cases, the interfacial energy is mainly governed by the curvature elastic term and theories of the wetting properties of complex fluids should include these curvature terms, bringing new physics into the realm of wetting phenomena. When in contact with air, we can study the rich molecular ordering in Langmuir monolayers, their phase behaviour as well as the kinetics of their phase transformations. Thus the satellite meeting was focused on four topics:Complex fluidsLangmuir monolayersInterfacial and wetting propertiesBiologically motivated problemsSpeakers at the workshop were invited to submit their papers to Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter and these papers are collected in this special section.Professor C Varea

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