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October 5th, 2009
Milo Shaffer completed his PhD at Cambridge in 1998. Following a period working as a materials technology consultant focusing on technology exploitation and innovation, he enjoyed a research fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge. He took up his current position at Imperial College London in 2003 as Reader in Nanomaterials Chemistry.
From the ancient Egyptians to the mid 20th century civilizations great achievements were big: pyramids, stadia, cathedrals. Only comparatively recently has engineering got to grips with the small: quantum physics, computer chips.
The natural world remains way ahead of us at incorporating complex design at every size scale. Atom to molecule to membrane to cell and up, up, up. The complexity is mind-boggling. To even start approaching multi-level design, science needs to provide new bricks at intermediate scales; this is where nanoscience steps in.
Dr. Milo Shaffer is working to bridge this gap in our ability to manipulate the world around us. His work focuses on the carbon nanotube. Nanotubes are pipes with walls as thin as atoms and diameters as small as a millionth of a millimeter that have recently been used to create transparent speakers of nanometer thickness and the world's toughest fibers. They act as a versatile building block, realizing sci-fi technologies and making good, existing materials, vastly stronger.
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