A Little Less Sticky Than Before.....

If it feels like an age since I last updated you all on my book-progress, that’s partly because 2020 has been the longest year ever, and partly because it actually has been an age since I talked about STICKY on here. 11 months, in fact, on this post. It’s time that I rectified that. The truth is…. it’s going well! I might go into more...


Making materials with machine learning

Singapore scientists move synthesis from the lab to the computer Materials discovery and synthesis has long been an expensive pursuit, thanks to its reliance on multiple trail-and-error experiments, costly reagents and energy-intensive manufacturing routes. Even with computational tools like density functional theory, development cycles are slow and inefficient....


Silica nanoparticles for cancer therapy

Zinc-loaded particles might have the potential to fight breast cancer Public Domain image of breast cancer cells invading healthy tissue. Taken by Dr. Cecil Fox Modern breast cancer treatment typically involves some combination of surgery, chemotherapy, hormone treatment and radiotherapy. Though gruelling, it works, and has vastly improved the prognosis for the >...


A power management system that powers itself

Triboelectric energy harvesters get a boost from Georgia Tech Shaking hands, going out for a walk, cycling to work. For several years, activities like these have been the target of a specific class of device manufacturer – those working on wearable technologies that harvest ‘wasted’ thermal and kinetic energy and deploy it elsewhere. The ultimate goal is...


Counting gamma rays with perovskites

Amesite, perovskite – Image from Wikimedia Commons – Géry PARENT Los Alamos team demonstrate the working principle for a new gamma-ray detector Since their discovery at the turn of the 20th century, gamma rays have been used to probe everything from distant stars to cancerous tumours. Gamma-ray spectroscopy in particular, has become a critical...


Knitting the future of supercapacitors

US researchers fabricate 3D knitted textiles that store energy Do you know your half gauge from your interlock? Or can you tell the difference between jersey and knit? If not, it may be time to learn, because a new paper from researchers at Drexel University suggests that knitting could be the future of energy storage. Writing in Materials Today [DOI:...


The NZ 'Inferior' campaign

355. That’s how many state secondary schools are in NZ. I know this because, over the course of far-too-many months, I led the campaign to get one copy of a specific book into every single one of those 355 schools. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll already know all about this, and you’ll know that in February 2020, we achieved our target...


2019: How was it for you?

If you’re a long-time reader, you’ll know that each December, I put together a ‘review’ blog post of the previous 12 months. These posts act as a kind of personal highlights (and lowlights) reel. As such, they tend to be pretty self-indulgent, so please don’t read this year’s one if that sort of thing annoys you (it’d probably annoy me too, to be...


A Sticky Situation

2.5 years ago, I sat down at my desk to write a blog post. In it, I told you, my lovely readers, that I’d signed a contract to write my second book – Sticky: The untold story of the forces that built civilisation. Reading the post back now, my excitement and disbelief are palpable! Since then, I’ve hardly mentioned it on the blog at all. That hasn’t been...


Image credit: VUW

MT Lab Profile: Dr Natalie Plank

I recently got to interview a friend and colleague, Dr Natalie Plank, for Materials Today. You can see it in its original form here: https://www.materialstoday.com/lab-profile-dr-natalie-plank\ Image credit: VUW Lab Name: Nanomaterials Devices Group Researcher: Dr Natalie Plank Location: Wellington, NZ Website:...