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Friday, 08 May 2020

Vermú de Nanociencia: webinars for everybody about nanotechnology

An offspring of the “10ALAMENOS9” Scientific Festival, the “Vermú de Nanociencia” webinar series proposes three lectures per week on nanoscience and nanotechnology research and application. Provided by experts in the field coming from different institutions, these webinars are oriented to a non-expert public and are freely available on Youtube.

The 6th edition of the “10ALAMENOS9” Scientific Festival was planned to take place between the end of April and the beginning of May 2020 but, unfortunately, it had to be rescheduled because of the mobility restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the team behind this lively event – in particular Jordi Diaz Marcos, scientific communicator and expert from the Nanometric Techniques Unit at the Universitat de Barcelona’s Scientific-Technical Services (CCiTUB) – decided to organize a special series of virtual seminars to bring science, and specifically nanotechnology, closer to people during confinement. Called “Vermú de Nanociencia”, the webinar series started on March 23 and is now ongoing, with three appointments per week (on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at 12pm). The lectures can be followed in streaming or watched later, since all of them are available on the Youtube channel of the “10ALAMENOS9” Festival.

Experts in nanoscience and nanotechnology share their knowledge in presentations of about 20-30 minutes, oriented to a non-expert public who is willing to discover more about the behavior of matter at such a small scale, new technologies developed by manipulating material at the nanoscale and their possible applications. The seminars span a broad range of topics related with nanoscience, from nanomedicine, to clean energy to food and nutrition.

Research carried out at the ICN2 have been presented in some of these webinars. On March 27, Daniel Rueda García, of the ICN2 Novel Energy-Oriented Materials Group, talked about energy storage technologies and devices and how nanotechnology can contribute to the development of this field, which is crucial to move towards a carbon-free society.

 

This discussion was continued on April 4 by Prof. Pedro Gómez Romero, leader of the ICN2 Novel Energy-Oriented Materials Group, who explained how, in order to meet our huge demand for energy, we need to make a paradigm shift and start to produce our own energy, as plants do with photosynthesis. He also talked about the need to increase our ability to storage energy produced in a discontinuous fashion through renewable sources, such as the sun and the wind. Research in nanotechnology is currently dealing with this challenge by trying to develop a hybrid system that would be able to provide both high power, as batteries, and high energy density, as supercapacitors.

 

The role that nanotechnology can play against coronavirus infections was discussed by Jordi Diaz on April 15, in a lecture dedicated to research correlated with this topic. Among other studies that are currently ongoing, he presented the European project CoNVaT, led from the ICN2 by CSIC Prof. Laura Lechuga, which aims to design a new system for quick diagnosis of COVID-19 and similar viruses using a biosensor platform based on optical nanotechnology.

Another ICN2 researcher, ICREA Prof. Víctor F. Puntes, leader of the Inorganic Nanoparticles Group and Head of the Design and Pharmacodynamics of Nanoparticles Group at Vall d’Hebron Institut de Recerca, took part in this initiative with an interview conducted by Jordi Diaz ("Entrevistas confinadas"). Prof. Puntes shared his vision about the role of science in pandemics.


You can find these and all the other webinars of the “Vermú de Nanociencia” series here.