Rice University President David Leebron kicked off a new monthly online video segment Sept. 4 called “Campus Conversations with the President.” Each month Leebron will highlight Rice faculty and research in an interview-style format. The first “Campus Conversations” webisode features Pulickel Ajayan, Rice’s Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and of chemistry.
Ajayan and his team made national news this summer with the creation of the very first paintable battery. The lithium-ion battery can be painted on virtually any surface. A video about the research that accompanies the Rice News story on the battery has garnered more than 100,000 views on Rice’s YouTube account.
Discoveries coming out of Ajayan’s lab are nothing new at Rice. He’s also used nanomaterials to create “magic sand” — plain sand enhanced for filtering water — and a nanosponge to soak up oil from large spills, and he was part of the team that created the darkest material ever measured. Ajayan also issued new research this week reporting a technique to make carefully arrayed nanowires encased in electrically conducting copper and ion-conducting polymer electrolyte into an anode. The material gives nanowires the space to grow and shrink as needed, which prolongs their usefulness. This research appeared Sept. 4 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
“Campus Conversations with the President” is recorded in Rice University’s interview studio in Allen Center and is produced by the Office of Public Affairs. For next month’s show, Leebron will interview guests about Rice’s Oct. 12 centennial and the events surrounding the school’s 100-year birthday.