Author archives: Silvia Román

Biological solutions for architectural problems

Biological solutions for architectural problems

MaterialsMechanical Engineering

By Silvia Román

Materials science is becoming more and more an interdisciplinary field in which almost every traditional subject has its say. Disciplines such as biology, medicine, computational design, architecture or even music, painting or sculpture converge on this open-minded host. As a result, new inspiring research is coming from so many different fronts, brought together by their […]

Growing inequalities in science

Growing inequalities in science

Sociology

By Silvia Román

One of the most common misconceptions regarding inequality consists of thinking that an unequal distribution of resources is the result of an unequal effort to achieve them. Although this might be the case in certain situations, when it comes to particular individuals, the fact is that there are systemic structural forces governing the result of […]

Sieving at the nanoscale: desalination of seawater through nanoporous graphene

Sieving at the nanoscale: desalination of seawater through nanoporous graphene

MaterialsPhysics

By Silvia Román

Perhaps the most repeated words in the last few years when talking about graphene – since scientists Geim and Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for their groundbreaking experiments – are “the material of the future”. There are some risks regarding so many expectations about everything related to materials science, since […]

Stuck like a gecko

Stuck like a gecko

BiologyMaterials

By Silvia Román

We all know the story of that Swiss engineer who came up with the hoop-and-loop fastener system (also known under the brand name Velcro) just by paying attention to the burdock burrs stuck in his clothes and his dog’s fur after a walk in the Alps. When he put these burrs under the microscope a […]

Superparamagnetic nanoparticles and the separation problem

Superparamagnetic nanoparticles and the separation problem

MaterialsPhysics

By Silvia Román

It has been a long time since we have learned that “going nano” leads to new properties arising from matter. One of those size-dependent properties that promises huge benefits due to its potential applications is magnetism. Magnetic materials are classified according to their susceptibility to magnetic fields into diamagnetic, paramagnetic and ferromagnetic materials, the first […]

Melodies of proteins

Melodies of proteins

BiochemistryMaterials

By Silvia Román

The way in which nature manages to create functional diversity in matter is probably the wisest guide for biomaterials engineers, who are always looking for new creative processes to come up with new materials. The conventional way of designing complex materials with new functionalities is explained by the so-called top-down approach, in which a new […]

Selective ignorance in science

Selective ignorance in science

GeneticsPhilosophy of sciencePlant biology

By Silvia Román

There is a strong tendency to consider that every scientific or technical solution to a particular problem is irrefutable. Nowadays, scientific and technological knowledge usually eludes public criticism and even we have seen how important government decision making were made by the so-called technocrats. We often forget the contingency of this knowledge, the fact that […]

Highly sensitive holographic polymers

Highly sensitive holographic polymers

Materials

By Silvia Román

Nowadays, there is a growing demand for new biosensors capable of detecting specific molecules, contaminants or toxic substances in food, drinking water, air, blood and so forth, with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity. Furthermore, we preferably want these biosensors to be inexpensive, easily reproducible and with a rapid and accurate response. This demand […]

Nanohazards

Nanohazards

Materials

By Silvia Román

Just a few years ago, nanoparticles broke into almost every laboratory in the world in one way or another. It marked a boom in nanoscience and nanotechnology. The demand for these new ultrafine particles, halfway between the bulk scale and the molecule scale, increased in such a way that sometimes there was even a shortage […]