Curious about nanotechnology, sustainability, and life in science? The Sustainable Nano podcast is produced by the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, a chemistry research center funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation.
Dr. Mary Kirchhoff is Executive Vice President of Scientific Advancement at the American Chemical Society and Director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute. Her career has spanned a variety of experiences related to sustainability in chemistry, including working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's green chemistry program and co-editing a book on Greener Approaches to Undergraduate Chemistry Experiments. In this episode, Dr. Kirchhoff shares insights and examples on the importance of green chemistry with two graduate student interviewers from the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology.
Dr. Mary Kirchhoff, Executive Vice President of Scientific Advancement at ACS (left); green chemistry image by IO-images
Alvin Chang, Senior Graphics Reporter for Vox, wrote and illustrated an article last year called "The subtle ways colleges discriminate against poor students, explained with a cartoon." In this episode of the podcast, we share the audio of a webinar that Chang presented about his work for the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. He tackles challenging issues of class, bias, and educational attainment using clear illustrations (verbal as well as visual!) and simple analogies that are relevant far beyond the world of academic science.
Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LCO) is an important nanomaterial used in batteries, but little is known about what happens when it gets exposed to the environment. In this episode we interview Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology graduate student Liz Laudadio, who was the first author on a recent paper about what happens to LCO when it gets exposed to phosphates in water. We discuss why phosphates are important and next steps to understanding potential environmental impacts of nanomaterials: "It's a constant loop of, How do nanoparticles affect the environment? How does the environment affect nanoparticles?"
How are photons like toddlers? And what does that have to do with solar energy? Dr. Jillian Buriak has been researching nanomaterials and renewable energy for over a decade, including work to improve solar panel technology. In this first episode of the Sustainable Nano Podcast's third season, we interview Dr. Buriak, who is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Alberta and Canada Research Chair of Nanomaterials for Energy, about her research, career path, and even some advice for junior scientists.
In the second interview from our visit to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, graduate students Natalie Hudson-Smith and Jaya Borgatta interview Dr. Wade Elmer, Chief Scientist for the Department of Plant Pathology and Ecology. They discuss everything from everyday garden fertilizers to cutting-edge nanoparticle experiments on watermelon.
How do we "see" nanoparticles when they're too small to view with a normal microscope? In this episode we interview Kelly Zhang, a graduate student in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology who recently published a paper about a new way to use NMR technology (like MRI for chemistry) to study the behavior of molecules that form a shell on diamond nanoparticles. We also talk about how watching anime as a kid inspired Kelly to become a chemist.
What does food blogging have to do with genetics research? In this episode, we talk with Dr. Ahna Skop, an associate professor of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, about how art, science, and cooking intersect, as well as some of the benefits and challenges she has experienced being dyslexic.
At last summer's American Chemical Society national meeting, Dr. Margaret Schott of Northwestern University took the unusual step of giving her history division presentation as her subject, Dr. Katharine Burr Blodgett. In this episode we interview Dr. Schott about her own path in life and chemistry, as well as that of Dr. Blodgett, including the debate about whether this pioneer of thin film technology was overlooked for a Nobel Prize.
Does gender bias matter? You can see for yourself thanks to an interactive app created by software engineer Penelope Hill at [doesgenderbiasmatter.com]. In this episode, we interview Penelope about what prompted her to create the app, some of the research behind it, and a few of the ways people in science and technology fields are working to overcome bias.
What does "sustainability" mean? Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland is famous for serving three terms as the Prime Minister of Norway and chairing the World Commission on Environment and Development -- the Brundtland Commission -- which defined sustainable development as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." In this episode we discuss Dr. Brundtland's autobiography, Madam Prime Minister, her life and accomplishments, and her contribution to our modern understanding of sustainability.