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New Materials for a New Age

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Abstract:

Historically, every era of human civilization, from the Stone Age, through the Bronze and Iron Ages, has been defined by the material that dominated the time. The forthcoming end of today’s Silicon Age, in which aspects of society as diverse as commerce, transportation and communication are underpinned by silicon-based microelectronic devices, offers therefore a unique opportunity—defining the future of civilization—and challenge—how to maintain and improve our modern way of life—to materials scientists. I will discuss how new materials are essential for addressing many of the world’s most urgent problems, and present my favourite candidates—the multiferroics—for enabling beyond-silicon technologies.

Speaker Profile:

Nicola Spaldin is the Professor of Materials Theory at ETH Zurich. She developed the class of materials known as multiferroics, which combine simultaneous ferromagnetism and ferroelectricity, for which she received the 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science award. She is a passionate science educator, coordinator of her department’s curriculum revision project “The Materials Scientist 2030, Who is She?”, and holder of the ETH Golden Owl Award for excellence in teaching. When not trying to make a room-temperature superconductor, she can be found playing her clarinet, skiing, or climbing in the Alps.

This talk is part of the SciSoc – Cambridge University Scientific Society series.

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