Our June dinner speaker was Rachel O’Reilly, Professor of Chemistry at Warwick University. She gave us a talk about her research into polymers (materials built up from smaller units) and their applications. Her group can construct polymer nano cages that can contain an active ingredient inside that is released only when needed. The cages are tiny: a nano metre is one thousandth millionth of a metre.
She told us that they could be used, for example, in laundry powder to keep the different enzymes from interacting with each other until required for getting on with the job of cleaning up all the different types of dirt we get on our clothes: grass stains, wine, blood, egg yolk …. Who knew laundry powder could be so interesting!
It was a fascinating insight into the life and work of a research scientist and left us in awe of her achievements and of her skill in bringing cutting edge chemistry to light.
For more information about Rachel and her research see her page on the Warwick University website. You will find out more on the websites of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Nature.