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Dinner Speech - Andreas Walther

Prof. Dr. Andreas Walther
Internal Senior Fellow
Makromolekulare Chemie
Universität Freiburg

From Plastics and Polymers to Life-Like Materials Systems
Wann 06.02.2019
von 17:30 bis 19:00
Wo FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminarraum
Teilnehmer universitätsoffen / open for university members
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From Plastics and Polymers to Life-Like Materials Systems

Plastics, or more generally, polymer-based materials, have been defining and improving our life in the past century by providing innovative solutions for structural materials (e.g. lightweight engineering in windmills), functional materials (e.g. printable and degradable electronics) or also for modern food technology, where they constitute a key ingredient in “molecular cuisine”. Such materials have become switchable and adaptive to outside triggers, and bioinspired design has allowed to promote their functionality and performance to new levels.

However, overall such present-day materials are still rather static and fall tremendously short of the complexity and the dynamics, which we find in living self-organizing systems. If we were able to impart concepts of life into synthetic materials, we would be in a position to evolve such static materials into dynamic, truly intelligent and fully interactive materials systems, that would provide balanced answers to human needs and pave the way for disruptive advances on the functional materials level. My talk will discuss this frontier of imparting the dynamics and self-regulating capacities of living systems into synthetic materials. I will give a broader overview of some enabling key principles towards life-like materials and discuss a few relevant examples both from my own work and from others.


Merindol, R.; Walther, A. “Materials Learning from Life: Concepts for Active, Adaptive and Autonomous Molecular Systems” Chem. Soc. Rev. 46, 5588 (2017).