Posted tagged ‘Materials’

Wet weather wear and nanosprings going for gold

August 17, 2010

Just an update on a couple of stories I wrote recently for Chemistry World. Here are links to a piece about a nice JACS paper on gold nanowires that are coiled up into ordered coils  by means of encapsulation in a polymer micelle, and a lovely J. Mater. Chem. (excellent journal!) paper about directional water transport within a porous fabric. These were two of my favourite papers that I have seen in a while, science-wise (I was saddened that the quality of copy-editing in the latter paper was somewhat sub-standard as I didn’t feel it did either the author or the journal justice).


Building up graphene nanoribbons

July 22, 2010

Just a quickie….to let you know that another article I wrote on graphene nanomaterials is now online on the Chemistry World website. That’s the third article on nanographene in two months – clearly a hot area or something!

Materials Views

July 13, 2010

Also please check out my contributions to the Nano Channel of Materials Views from Wiley.

So far, I have written about:

Brushes grown on brushes

Hot-spot-light on cells

Nanoparticle temperature memory sensor

Electronics made from ribbons


I’ll keep you up to date with anything else I do. Enjoy!

Wow – I can see a long way from here

May 18, 2010

Hello. This is a post to introduce myself and my blog to the world.

Imagine you are a very small thing, a dwarf or a beetle or even smaller (but try and limit your sense of even smaller to something that actually has eyes, please, or you will destroy the rest of my analogy). You find a huge creature, something giant in your view. It can see a long way, further than you have ever even imagined. It tells you all about the wonders it can see. But you want to see with your own eyes, so slowly, laboriously, and with lots of help, you climb up the giant and look to see what you can see from the dizzy heights.

What you can see is a lot. You may not understand it all, certainly not at first. The giant has a bit of explaining to do. But at some point you realise that actually, because you are sitting on the giant’s shoulder, your eyes are higher up than its eyes are, and you can see further still. You could never have done that if you were still on the ground, you needed the giant’s help, but now you are the one who can see the most amazing wonders.

I’m sure that by now you get the point. The analogy I’m using is not a new one, according to the very reliable Wikipedia, it wasn’t even the illustrious scientist Isaac Newton who was the first to use it but a 12th century philosopher called Bernard of Chartres. It has even been used by others for their slogan before – you may have used a certain search engine to help you find this blog. But I like the idea of something small and beetle-like (myself, or maybe you) being able to see more and further than the things I know and understand to be huge and amazing, simply by working with those things. Some people prefer to sit on the ground and deny the existence of the wonders that can be seen from the shoulders of the giants, simply because they don’t like the giant. This blog is not for you. This blog is for those of you interested in my notes from the shoulder of the giant.

I will the first to admit that I may not understand everything I see from here – that’s where you the community as the giant come in – you can help me to understand those things better, and communicate them better to those beetle-like beings on the ground who may be just starting the long climb up. Because that’s how we can make the giants even taller, and raise up the beetles/dwarves/Lilliputians even higher, so they can see even more than we can, and pass on their notes to the future.

As you might have gathered, I’m actually not a beetle at all (finding a beetle capable of typing would be an impressive feat) but a simple PhD chemist interested in science and communicating it. I’ve been working in the area of chemistry and science now for a good few years, and have met a lot of great, sincere, and hardworking people who are part of the effort to climb up the giant, and to raise the giant onto a hill. I admire their hard work in the face of  adversity. This blog represents a snapshot of my views. Where I can, I will back up my views with evidence, but it’s always going to be my interpretation of what I can see. If you think I am misrepresenting your case, maybe I just haven’t understood it. That might be my fault for being just plain dim, or it could be that you haven’t stated your case sufficiently clearly enough – in my experience both are quite likely. In any case, I’ll try not to make personal attacks or judgements – if you think I am doing so please give me the benefit of the doubt and just let me know how you feel. I can be contacted on