Wednesday, 29 March 2017

From Bits to Batteries - Cafe Scientifique preview

On April 3rd 2017, the Sheffield branch of Cafe Scientifique will be be hosting FMD member, Dr Chris Handley, as he presents his talk, "From Bits to Batteries".

Cafe Scientifique is place for academics and researchers to present their work to a public audience, consisting largely of non-experts. Outreach opportunities such as these are an ideal way to demonstrate the value of academic research, and the value of investment into research.

For the FMD group, and Chris in particular, this is a chance to show the public how we are searching for novel functional materials, and what uses we are designing these materials for. Furthermore, it is a chance for Chris to show the importance of underpinning fundamental research in understanding how the chemistry of these materials, through the use of simulations, influences the properties of these materials, and so allow us to design and discover, novel materials.

In his talk, Chris will use a couple of case studies from his own research to demonstrate who we design models to simulate chemistry and thus materials, and his vision for future methods for simulating materials.

Chris' talk will take place at 7pm, the 3rd of April, 2017, at the Showroom Cafe Bar in Sheffield.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Functional materials in Parliament

On March the 15th 2017 Becky attended Voice of the Future 2017 at Portcullis House in Westminster. The event saw participants from a range of organisations invited to submit questions to a range of science Ministers and Government advisers about the future of science policy in the UK, and to hear their answers and thoughts on this important topic. Becky was there on behalf of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and had submitted questions ahead of time to be asked on the day.

First under the spotlight was the Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy Secretary Chi Onwurah. Of the questions asked, her stance on the lack of taboo which makes it acceptable to be bad at maths was particularly interesting, although the question of how to solve this issue, particularly amongst school-age girls, was left open.

Next was Sir Mark Walport, chief scientific adviser to the Government, closely followed by Jo Johnson, Minister who gave the party line on the likely effects of the UK’s exit from the EU. He gave a very interesting account of the party line, with an overall positive outlook, even with the uncertain times faced by scientists and the UK in general.

Finally, questions were put to four members of the Science and Technology Select Committee. This was particularly interesting as these are the MPs who write reports to directly advise the Government in their decision-making.

Overall, the day was a fascinating insight into the inner workings of science policy in the UK, and a great opportunity to visit the House of Commons, even if, having seen the questions ahead of time, the answers sometimes felt a little prepared. More information about the event can be found here and a recording of the afternoon can be found on the Commons website

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Event - Functional Materials for a Sustainable Future

May 15th 2017, at the University of Sheffield, the FMD group will be hosting a workshop on "Functional Materials for a Sustainable Future". The workshop will feature talks focusing on electroceramic materials, and identifying the future challenges facing the industry.

Talks will be given by both university academics and guests from leading industrial partners, such as Dyesol, Isotek, and Johnson Matthey.