Stephen Picken studied experimental /theoretical physics at Groningen University (1985). He obtained a PhD in Exact Sciences at the University of Utrecht (1990, cum-laude) for his work on orientational order in aramid solutions. During his PhD research he was employed at Akzo Nobel Corporate/Central research Arnhem also working on mesophase pitch fibres, the rheology & rheo-optics of LCP's and the development of liquid crystalline polymer technology in the field of non-linear optics, data storage and display compensation films. In 2000 he was appointed professor of polymer materials at TU Delft and works on the field of LCP’s, block-copolymers and (functional) polymer nano-composites in the section Advanced Soft Matter at the Delft Department of Chemical Engineering. He was advisor for the Dutch Polymers Institute clusters Engineering Polymers and Functional Polymer Systems, member of the IOP surface technology and self-healing materials programme committee and advisor for various companies. He has published about 250 papers in peer-reviewed journals and 20 patents relating to the science and technology of polymers, polymer nanocomposites and liquid crystals.