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Outreach – Institute Investigators visit Nelson College for Girls

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Outreach – Institute Investigators visit Nelson College for Girls

24 March, 2015

Fibonacci sequence as found in nature

Fibonacci sequence as found in nature

While in Nelson for AMN-7 the MacDiarmid Institute’s seventh international conference for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, three of the Institute’s Investigators visited Nelson College for Girls to share with the Year 12 and 13 students their passion and enthusiasm for science. Senior science students from Nelson College for Boys also attended the presentations.

MacDiarmid Institute Director Professor Kate McGrath spoke about the goals and vision of The MacDiarmid Institute and introduced the concepts of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials.

Kate also asked the questions “Can we mimic nature's processes, adapt them and make different materials and processes? Or learn from nature to try and improve things we already have?” and talked about the fascinating Fibonacci sequence.

DNA being stretched by optical tweezers

DNA being stretched by optical tweezers

Principal Investigator Associate Professor Bill Williams who Kate described as a “superstar in the world of squishy” talked about the amazing nanoworld and the incredible tools, like optical tweezers, physical biologist get to use. He showed some short videos of DNA being stretched, pulled and squeezed by optical tweezers!

DNA being snapped by optical tweezers

DNA being snapped by optical tweezers

DNA following optical tweezers

DNA following optical tweezers

Associate Investigator Dr Michelle Dickinson in a talk similar to the one she gave at TEDX Wanaka asked the students about their “super powers” and encouraged them to pursue their dreams. She also gave the students hands-on experience with some amazing nanomaterials.

The students were very excited and engaged when given the opportunity to talk with the scientists one on one, with some staying behind for 45minutes after the sessions to ask questions!

Kate On Lawn with students

Nanomaterials and MichelleNelson Boys and Girls