New Spin for Old Memories, the Nanotechnology of Magnetic Materials

Wednesday 31st October 2007 @ 19:00

Non-Member: £12.00 ; Staff: £5.00 ; Student: £3.00

Russell Cowburn, Professor of Nanotechnology

Professor Cowburn introduced a wrapt audience to the concepts of nanotechnology showing them the tools that have been developed to view and manipulate materials at molecular level. Known as nanotechnology, after the Greek word for dwarf, it is the science of the reactions and characteristics of materials at very small scales. Importantly by manipulating and moving atoms and molecules scientists are creating materials with fundamental different characteristics: tiny gear trains, machines that will travel in the blood stream and perhaps carry out operations at molecular level on our arteries. He showed a photograph of single iron atoms on a copper substrate of Kanji script and challenged his audience to say what it said. A voice from the back said, "atom". "That's the first time I have had an audience which knew the answer," said Professor Cowburn.?

? A key to all this is tools and machines that have been developed to observe, measure and above all to move atoms. Moving atoms is a painstaking slow activity but new techniques are speeding the process up.

At 35 Professor Cowburn is one of the youngest professors at the College. His ability, not only in research but also in commercial exploitation, has been recognized by a string of recent awards including:? the Degussa Science to Business Award 2006 sponsored by the largest speciality chemicals company in the world, INSEAD (the leading French Business School) and Handelsblatt (the German equivalent of the Financial Times). Hermes Award 2007 the World's most valuable technology prize awarded by the Hanover Fair the Institute of Physics Paterson Medal, 2008 for his outstanding contribution to physics and his internationally recognized success in commercial exploitation.


Venue: Sir Alexander Fleming Building