After mentioning the Café Scientifique talk coming up on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at Vancouver’s (Canada) Railway Club in my March 24, 2011 posting (http://www.frogheart.ca/?p=3171), I’m happy to say that Mark MacLachlan, the featured speaker, has answered a few questions about himself, his work and what he plans to talk about. Here he is,
(a) Could you tell me a little bit about yourself and why you’re giving a talk for Café Scientifique?
I grew up in Quesnel then obtained my BSc degree at UBC and my PhD at the University of Toronto. After a 2 year post-doc at MIT, I returned to UBC where I have been a chemistry professor since 2001.
My research is in materials chemistry – we develop new materials that “do things”. That might include materials that change properties when exposed to another chemical (i.e., sensing) or light, or materials that can store gases in their interior. We are excited about developing new materials with unusual properties.
(b) How did you decide on your topic? Are people demanding to know about biomimcry?
I was invited to give a talk on our work we published in Nature on the coloured glasses. As these materials mimic the structures of beetle shells, I thought that would be an interesting angle for a more general talk.
(c) The description for your upcoming talk in common with the description of a paper you and your team published Nov. 2010 in Nature mentions irridescent beetle exoskeletons. Which came first, an interest in irridescence or an interest in nanocrystalline cellulose (or is nanocrystals of cellulose)? And, how was the connection between the two made?
An interest in NCC came first. We were working with NCC to develop composites of NCC/glass when we discovered the iridescent materials. It was then a few months later that we made the connection to beetle exoskeletons.
(d) What can your audience expect? Will you be singing about biomimicry and/or nanocrystalling cellulose or offering a mixed media show as part of the talk?
I will be talking about biomimicry a little and mostly about the materials. I plan to take a few samples with me.
e) Is your talk connected to the Nano Days events which run from March 26 – April 3, 2011 or is it coincidence?
Just a coincidence – this is the first I’ve heard of Nano Days!
f) Is there anything you’d like to add?
I’ve never been to Café Scientifique before and I am looking forward to this opportunity to share some science!
Thank you Mark MacLachlan. If you want to know more, check out the Railway Club at 579 Dunsmuir St. The event starts at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, March 29, 2011.