The University is delighted to welcome Professor Nicolas Kotov, a leading researcher in the field of biomimetic nanostructures and one of Bath's 2023/24 Global Chairs. Professor Kotov is hosted by the Department of Physics and the International Relations Office. Please join us to listen to Professor Kotov give a public lecture titled 'Taming Disorder with Chirality'.
A reception will be held directly after the lecture, where drinks and canapés will be provided.
What is better order or disorder? Or perhaps, what is better simplicity of complexity? These are not just philosophical questions but the key problem in the design of materials for sustainable future.
The insight into answers to these questions can be gained from biology. There are numerous biomaterials, exemplified by seashells, cartilage, tooth enamel, and kidney membranes, that have properties much better than their man-made counterparts. Instead of a simple crystalline order, these biomaterials combine both order and disorder, which makes them complex. They display ‘hidden’ structural patterns that are consistent over multiple organs, organisms, and evolutionary epochs. Understanding these structural patterns and finding pathways to replicate them from technologically accessible nanomaterials is hard but possible.
Chirality provides simple pathways to complex materials. Furthermore, chiral particles can be ‘ugly’ and polydisperse but still self-assemble into beautiful flower-like and bowtie-like particles. Besides fascinating properties, the chiral nanoscale assemblies also provide insight how order emerges from disorder and how it benefits us. Does chirality helm make living systems more complex? Yes, it does, but with a twist.
Nicholas A. Kotov is the Irving Langmuir Distinguished University Professor in Chemical Sciences at the University of Michigan. He is a pioneer of science and technologies of high-performance bioinspired materials from ‘imperfect’ particles. They combine both order and disorder that make them uniquely useful and common.
Nicholas is a recipient of more than 60 national and international awards and recognitions. Together with his students, Nicholas founded several start ups that commercialized self-assembled nanostructures for the energy, healthcare, and automotive industries. Nicholas is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors. He is a passionate advocate for scientists with disabilities. Nicholas also spearheading the multilateral collaboration in science and technology of bioinspired materials with five African countries.