22 March, 2017
David Leigh, plenary speaker at AMN8 Queenstown, builds machines that can work on the scale of DNA sized molecules.
Smaller than a pinhead, the machines in Professor David A Leigh’s lab are created by chemistry that manipulates the properties of tiny elements to create motion. Leigh, who is coming to NZ for February’s AMN8 conference, talks to Charles Anderson
Think of David Leigh as a caveman chief at the beginnings of civilisation.
Think of him marvelling at a stone wheel as it rolls downhill with little effort. Think of asking him then to envision the combustion engine. To envision the motor car, Henry Ford and the automobile industry. Roads, buses and mass transport. The poor caveman chief simply could not have any idea about what the future might hold for his humble stone cylinder...
He also talked to RNZ about these ‘molecular machines’:
His work on manipulating molecules has led to all sorts of breakthroughs, including tying molecules into complex knots which could give materials "exceptional versatility" or the ability to be shock absorbent. The knotted molecules mimic the complex knots found in proteins and DNA, helping change their properties. But as he tells Kim, the potential of the technology is only just being discovered...
Picture Source: University of Manchester
Here he works his magic on students from Burnside High School and other Christchurch schools.