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Galvanised: connecting science, engineering and the arts in EFI


Presented by Edinburgh Futures Institute.

EFI hopes to spark new insights by galvanising radically different perspectives on a theme. Each fortnight, one scientist/engineer, and one researcher in humanities, arts or social sciences sharing work and leading discussion.

In the third seminar in the series guest lecturer's will be Prof Paul Attfield FRS and Dr Cristina Nan (Edinburgh College of Art) discussing the theme: '"From materials science to its place in design".

'New Materials' are essential to the development of modern technologies, a smartphone being perhaps the most obvious everyday example. What defines a 'new material' can vary enormously. Sometimes a breakthrough comes from increased chemical complexity, and sometimes from engineering new properties in familiar substances. Some of the most prominent materials discoveries of recent times have resulted from nanostructuring the essential element carbon to create buckyballs, nanotubes, and single-atom layers of graphene. Sustainability is another important driver - are there sufficient elemental resources to meet our future materials needs? (Paul Attfield)

Digital design technologies are providing fascinating opportunities for working with diverse materials - such as the creation of curved shapes that were hitherto very difficult to make with certain materials. There is also increasing opportunity for using robots in novel aspects of fabrication. However, as ever, there are a variety of unintended consequences emerging in the use of digital technologies in materials design, including political issues related to the sustainability of precious elements such as Lithium. (Cristina Nan)

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