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Self-assembling colloids under the guidance of DNA

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Rebecca Bowler.

The versatility of DNA has fascinated biologists, chemists and physicists since the discovery of its double helical structure. Despite its seemingly simple structure, DNA displays an almost infinite number of combinations of four bases, encoding all the genetic information needed to build every cell of our body. DNA packs very efficiently in the cell nucleus, obeying intriguing mathematical rules to overcome all intramolecular forces, and yet have the entropic elasticity of a polyelectrolyte.

About 20 years ago, it was discovered that DNA could be used as ‘intelligent glue’ to self-assemble colloids, along with other nano-sized materials, into fantastic new materials. In this talk I will give an overview of how to build smilies and flying colloidal carpets, how short strands of DNA can be used in a clever way to do new physics, and how it is used for bio-medical diagnostics.

The talk will be held in the Pharmacology Lecture Theatre on Wednesday 10rd February at 8.00pm. It’s free for members and £2 for non-members, and includes a wine reception afterwards where we will be selling the last few of our infamous mugs for 50p each.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Physics Society series.

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