Women in Nanoscience


Women in Nano Blog

Of the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Eiffel Tower, and meta-materials... what's the link?

Posted on January 1, 2016 at 6:30 PM

Lauren Montemayor (Jet Propulsion Lab) with Victoria Chernow and Julia Greer (Cal Tech) have recently written an instructive review article on meta-materials that illustrates how materials can be designed with the same sorts of architectural constructs that we associate with buildings. They use the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Eiffel Tower to illustrate the difference between normal bulk materials, and meta-materials in which architectural features have lengthscales that reach down to the microstructural level and impact their characteristic properties. Giza is invoked as a model for bulk 3D materials, whereas the porous intricate 3D framework of the Eiffel Tower reminds us of meta-materials. Such materials have striking properties; they create the shimmering rainbows in opals and the brilliant color of peacock feathers in the form of photonic crystals that reflect light in a particular way. Their intricate geometric shapes, such as the ephemeral double gyroid shape can be found in the skin of some cephalopods. Intrigued to learn more about this class of materials? Then read their recent article in the MRS Bulletin, volume 40 (12), pages 1122 to 1129, published in December 2015.

(Hiking the John Muir Trail)


Lauren Montemayor is currently a microdevices engineer at JPL. She was educated at MIT (BS in Aerospace Engr. '10) and CalTech (PhD Mat. Sci. '15) in the laboratory of Julia Greer. For fun, she was the Alpine Club President at CalTech and an active participant in the Women Helping Women program there. Victoria Chernow is a 4th year PhD student in the Greer lab. She has an AB degree in Chemistry from Harvard ('11), a Master's degree in materials science from CalTech ('14). She was a summer researcher at Tsinghua University in 2010. Julia Greer is a Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics at CalTech. See a video of her talking about her work:

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Professor Greer was born in Russia and emigrated to the U.S. in 1992. She was an undergraduate at MIT in Chemical Engineering and a PhD from Stanford in Materials Science, but intriguingly she is also an acclaimed pianist. Listen to her play here.

(Hiking Mt. Baldy with her dog)

- Written by Paulette Clancy

(Photo credit: Provided by Dr. Montemayor, credit to: Trail: Masha Kleshcheva, With dog: Corrina Gibson).

Categories: WINnews

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