Triangle Universities Studying Soft Matter
The Triangle's four major universities are collaborating on a multi-year study of "soft matter." The National Science Foundation awarded a 6-year grant worth nearly 14-million dollars to researchers at Duke, UNC, NC State, and NC Central Universities. Soft matter is usually material that is squishy like proteins, D-N-A solutions, polymers, and gels. They can be assembled into structures that researchers hope will one day prove useful. Carol Hall is a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State. She says this type of long-term research is what makes science valuable to society.
Carol Hall: "You have to be looking forward to what's gonna come down the road in 5, 10 years time. That's what research is all about, to try and make new materials that in 5 years time might be useful for detecting cancer or for making cables that transmit signals faster."
The new research collaboration will also serve as an educational resource for students interested in soft matter research.