CRANN, the Science Foundation Ireland funded nanoscience institute based at Trinity College Dublin, today celebrated the launch of Nanoweek 2012 with the opening of a new exhibition jointly developed with Science Gallery. Magical Materials is a free, month long show at Science Gallery which explores the peculiar properties of the world's most futuristic and spectacular materials.
Visitors to the exhibition will have a chance to see, touch and experience almost fifty Magical Materials including:
- Aerogel, the lightest solid in the world (dubbed 'solid smoke')
- Graphene, a layer of graphite just one atom thick but 200 times stronger than steel
- Smart textiles that store information, keep your gadgets charged and raise oxygen levels in blood.
The exhibition opening co-incides this weekend with the launch of Nanoweek 2012, which runs from 14th - 21st September. Nanoweek is an initiative of NanoNet Ireland, a single body of academia and industry designed to promote awareness of nanoscience and its contribution to the Irish economy.
Alongside the Magical Materials Exhibition, as part of Nanoweek 2012, CRANN will also host the 2012 Nanoweek Conference with the theme Nanoscience - Excellence with Impact on 17th - 18th September. This conference will bring together high profile international researchers and senior industry figures from multinationals and SMEs who will present their experiences of transforming university research to industrial impact.
Speaking at the Magical Materials exhibition, Dr. Diarmuid O'Brien, Executive Director of CRANN said, "The hugely significant impact of nanoscience and material science on our everyday lives is such that general and widespread understanding of its reach is crucial. Nanoweek 2012, through 'Magical Materials' brings the impact of this research to life in a very tangible way for the public. Nanoscience is a crucial contributor to the Irish economy. It is linked to 120,000 jobs, totalling 10% of our annual exports or €15 billion across a range of sectors including medicine, pharmaceuticals, technology and energy. Science Gallery have an impressive track record of attracting large numbers of young visitors to their exhibitions and we are delighted to have collaborated with them on this month long exhibition. We hope that this event will lead to a growing awareness of the importance of nanoscience to Ireland".
During Nanoweek 2012, the winner of the 2012 RDS/Intel Prize Lecture for Nanoscience will also be announced. The presenting of a lecture demonstrates the winner's ability to communicate complex scientific issues to a wide and diverse audience, crucial in increasing public understanding of scientific research. Last year's winner was Professor Michael Coey, Principal Investigator at CRANN.
As part of Magical Materials 'Director of Stuff, Producer of Things, Maker of Objects and Collector of Materials', Zoe Loughlin, will present 'Performativity of Matter' on the 18th September, while Mark Miodownik from the Institute of Making will speak on September 27th. During the exhibition, Science Gallery will also explore science fiction in 'From Grey Goo to Tricorders - How Science Fiction Influences Reality' and bring back the hugely successful Curated Dinner series for members.