My dream: to be able to drive a virus-powered car. — Angela Belcher
Using nature to grow batteries
Angela Belcher’s TED Talk presentation is anything but a fluff piece. However, her discussion reveals the kind of exciting scientific discovery driving the future of sustainable energy. Clean, renewable energy awaits a society with the vision and willingness to invest in green technology. We boast some of the sharpest scientific minds on the planet. By no coincidence, many have focused their R&D efforts on finding solutions for an Earth that cannot indefinitely endure environmental damage from greenhouse gasses and global warming.
Inspired by an abalone shell, Angela Belcher programs viruses to make elegant nanoscale structures that humans can use. Selecting for high-performing genes through directed evolution, Belcher has produced viruses that can construct powerful new batteries, clean hydrogen fuels and record-breaking solar cells. Here, she shows us how it’s done. Talk recorded 14 January 2011.
About the Speaker
Angela Belcher looks to nature for inspiration on how to engineer viruses to create extraordinary new materials. With a bachelors in Creative Studies and a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry, Angela Belcher has made a career out of finding surprising and innovative solutions to energy problems.
As head of the Biomolecular Materials Group at MIT, Belcher brings together the fields of materials chemistry, electrical engineering and molecular biology to engineer viruses that can create batteries and clean energy sources. A MacArthur Fellow, she also founded Cambrios Technologies, a Cambridge-based startup focused on applying her work with natural biological systems to the manufacture and assembly of electronic, magnetic and other commercially important materials. Time magazine named her a climate-change hero in 2007.