Materials – Fact or Fiction

MacDiarmid Institute Regional Lecture Series 2020 Materials Fact or Fiction – Wanaka.

Friday 23rd October, 6pm, at the Presbyterian Community Hall, 91 Tenby Street, Wanaka.

In order to accommodate any further changes in alert levels due to COVID, this year’s showcase will be in a digital format, with the option to either attend in person at EIT should that be possible and your preference, or to dial in from your own device. Please register here if you wish to dial in and we will send you the appropriate link to do so.

Baakonite – a composite metal alloy from Star Trek, used by the Klingons in their bat’leths and mek’leths, as well as in their communicators.

Vibranium from Marvel Comics is a rare metallic ore with energy-manipulating properties. If tempered properly through a mix of magic and science, Vibranium can amplify mystical energies

From what we know of the periodic table and the world around us, could these materials exist in real life?

Join us for ‘Materials Fact or Fiction’, where MacDiarmid researchers delve into the periodic table to give us their scientific take on whether these could be reality in a not too far off future.

Associate Professor Duncan McGillivray, a MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator at the University of Auckland, will give us his take on Baakonite as featured in Star Trek.

And Dr Krista Steenbergen, MacDiarmid Institute Associate Investigator and Physics Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), will talk about Vibranium, the fictional metal appearing in the Marvel Comics.

Duncan and Krista will be joined by Otago Museum science communicator Dr Claire Concannon as MC. There’ll be two talks, a three-minute animated video on the ‘science of lightsabers’, and time for Q&A.


Speaker bios:

Associate Professor Duncan McGillivray is a Principal Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute and an Associate Professor in Chemistry at the University of Auckland. Duncan trained in neutron and X-ray scattering in the UK, USA and Australia before establishing his research group in New Zealand. His PhD was at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and he then worked in the USA at Johns Hopkins and Carnegie Mellon Universities, and the NIST Center for Neutron Research, and in Australia at the Australian National University. Duncan’s current research is focused on material science, including colloids and surface science.

Dr Krista Steenbergen is an Associate Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute and a Physics Lecturer in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). She completed her PhD at VUW under the supervision of MacDiarmid Co-Director Associate Prof Nicola Gaston. Krista’s research focuses on materials modelling: using and developing computational methods to characterise material properties. She is particularly interested in how material properties change – often in intriguing and counter-intuitive ways – at the nanoscale. Her long term research is focused on discovery and characterisation of materials with application to renewable energy, battery and sensing technologies.

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