Author archives: Silvia Román

Mapping interdisciplinarity

Mapping interdisciplinarity

Philosophy of scienceSociology

By Silvia Román

Some decades ago, the American social scientist Donald T. Campbell imagined interdisciplinary research as a fish-scale structure according to which scholars should make an effort to create links between disciplines, spanning areas ignored by others, in an overlapping pattern aiming to cover the entire web of knowledge. He suggested that scholars should overcome the “ethnocentrism […]

Critical materials: The missing piece of the “green economy” puzzle

Critical materials: The missing piece of the “green economy” puzzle

EconomicsGeosciencesMaterials

By Silvia Román

It is widely accepted that low carbon technologies will contribute to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mostly those coming from carbon dioxide, and thus slow down the global warming. That’s why most of the largest economies in the world have committed to reduce their gas emissions by supporting an unprecedented transition from the current fossil-fuel based […]

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 […]