It’s a week of discovering how chemistry is changing our world—international and national speakers are in Melbourne and ready to talk. Here are some highlights and we’ll have daily alerts for you with more people and ideas through the week. Media are welcome.
This Sunday, 5pm
- Meet Trump’s ‘Aussie mate’ Andrew Liveris—Australian-born, US-based chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical Company, who Trump has appointed to lead his American Manufacturing Council. Liveris is not doing any media interviews but you can see and report his talk at 5pm
- Opening of the RACI Centennial Chemistry Congress: 2,500 chemists, three Nobel Prize winners.
Monday 24 July
- How seaweed and frog venom led to today’s OLED phone and TV screens. Andrew Holmes discusses what’s next for plastic electronics and solar energy
- Molly Stevens grows bones—Molly is a tissue engineer growing bones, cartilage, nerve and heart tissue for regenerative medicine and bio-sensing. Last December she announced a patch that could fix a broken heart
- Obama White House insider, and father of green chemistry, Paul Anastas on how we need to design smarter to create a sustainable society. For example, we need non-toxic solar cells, and biofuels that don’t compete with food production
- New solvents from wood—invented in York, made in Tassie. The world needs good solvents for everything from cleaning the house, to making drugs, and miracle materials like graphene. York University’s James Clark has invented a new solvent that’s now being made in Tasmania.
Tuesday 25 July
- Eliminating chemical weapons, His Excellency Mr Ahmet Üzümcü—Director-General, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2013 Nobel Peace Prize winner)
- Using carbs to fight superbugs—Wisconsin chemist Laura Kiessling on how we can use the carbohydrates that coat every living cell in the fight against antibiotic resistant superbugs
- Sir Martyn Poliakoff (University of Nottingham) is in the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s smallest periodic table (carved into a hair from his head). He’s a star of the YouTube series The Periodic Table of Videos. And in his day job he’s working to use CO2, water and other supercritical fluids to replace toxic solvents in applications such as dry cleaning.
Wednesday 26 July
- Frances Arnold (Caltech). She’s using ‘directed evolution’, which uses chemical engineering to create useful biological systems such as highly reactive enzymes or microorganisms that convert biomass to alternative fuels
- Nobel Laureate Ada E. Yonath is using her work into ribosomes (the construction works that build proteins in every cell) to tackle the global problem of antibiotic resistance.
Thursday 27 July
- From Chernobyl to farms: minimising the impacts of radiation. Gabi Voigt, former IAEA researcher and Global President of Women in Nuclear, discusses radioecology—how do radioactive substances spread through the environment, plants and animals?
- The chemistry lab coming to your pocket. Conor Hogan and his colleagues say that using smartphones for medical tests could be life changing, especially in developing countries. They’ve demonstrated a diagnostic device that uses a sheet of paper, a tiny slip of plastic and a mobile phone camera to detect markers for congenital hypothyroidism, the most common preventable cause of mental retardation in the world
- Burning fat with copper. We’re not getting enough copper, says US researcher Chris Chang. He’s shown the critical role that copper plays in burning fat. He also believes that understanding how elements like copper are involved in neural action will lead us to the chemistry of consciousness.
If you’d like to attend the conference, media passes are available—contact Suzannah Lyons on firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
For more stories visit www.scienceinpublic.com.au
For information about the Congress itself, visit the website: www.racicongress.com.