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UCLan academic stars in world celebration of modern polymers
Congress unveils glimpse of the future
A UCLan academic has played a starring role at a prestigious world polymer conference.
Professor Andrei Zvelindovsky, based within UCLan’s School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences, was one of over a thousand polymer chemists, physicist and engineers from all over the world who took part in the recent IUPAC World Polymer Congress, MACRO2010.
Held in Glasgow, the congress gave delegates a tantalising glimpse of the future with reports on high powered computers the size of a coin to nano-size plastic vehicles which can deliver medicine and repair the human body.
Professor Zvelindovsky, organiser of one of 25 parallel symposia, said: “Polymers surround us everywhere from the humble toothbrush to the saloon car.
“In many ways their existence is taken for granted. People don’t realise that scientific research has been conducted for over a hundred years to create these polymer wonders.”
UCLan’s symposium was focused around block copolymers, a special type of polymer, able to form nano-size structures by self-assembly.
Professor Zvelindovsky added: “Our symposium generated a huge amount of interest. In fact the large rooms within the venue could not accommodate all the people who wanted to listen to our lectures. A keynote lecture by Professor Tony Ryan from Sheffield on ‘swimming’ polymers had to be repeated the next day in a special evening session due to overwhelmingly popular demand.”
MACRO2010 reported on the most recent discoveries including three-dimensional holographic polymer data storage devices, able to memorise a thousand times more data than traditional computer hard drives. And at a more practical level a new polymer has been invented enabling chewing gum to be washed from a pavement with just soap and water.
Professor Zvelindovsky continued: “Polymer scientists are now working on new research tasks which include nano-size plastic and nano-electronics. Ultimately the results of this research could see the production of computers the size of a coin, a new generation of powerful solar panels and efficient energy storage devices to minimize energy waste.”
The World Polymer Congress is organised every two years in different countries. Within the host country the congress is a mark of high achievement in polymer science.
Andrei concluded: “It was a great honour to organise one of MACRO2010’s prime symposiums. Within the world of polymer research UCLan is ranked alongside some of the UKs most prestigious institutions such as Oxford and Imperial College London. Our presence at MACRO2010 was a clear recognition of UCLan’s status as an international leader within theoretical polymer science.”
The next congress will be held in USA in 2012.