Trinity Scientist Professor Jonathan Coleman Speaks at TEDx Brussels

Earlier this year, Professor Jonathan Coleman, researcher at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Physics and AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre, announced a world-first Graphene Innovation which got international applaud.  He discovered a new research method to produce large volumes of high quality graphene. The European Research Council invited Professor Coleman to speak at TEDx Brussels, about his pioneering idea to an audience of 2,000 on December 1st last.

Professor Coleman joined five European Research Council (ERC) grantees, including a Nobel Prize winner, to speak at TEDx Brussels.  Appearing in a session of their own, the ERC speakers presented their high-risk, high-gain, EU-funded research. This was the first time the ERC was present at the event, which gathered world-class speakers from a variety of fields at BOZAR Brussels, Belgium.

The theme of TEDx Brussels this year was 'The Territory and the Map', and each ERC speaker represented a different scientific field and nationality. From oceanography to nanotechnology to invisibility, the ERC TEDx talks covered new ground at the frontiers of human knowledge. The speakers gave an insight into their research and explained how their pioneering ideas, supported by ERC funding, are being realised.

Speaking about participating in TEDx Brussels, Professor Coleman said: “I’m delighted to take part in TEDx Brussels and to be able to talk a little about our simple but effective methods of producing graphene and other nano-materials. Earlier this year, we added graphene to rubber bands, making them electrically conductive, opening up a host of possibilities for the development of wearable sensors, which could be used to monitor blood pressure, joint movement and respiration. I have no doubt that we will continue to make groundbreaking scientific breakthroughs which ultimately will allow industry to produce and deliver a truly revolutionary material globally.”

 Referring to the ERC's participation, TEDx Brussels Director Sam Lounis de Brouwer said: “TEDx Brussels is glad to count on the partnership of the prestigious European Research Council in this year’s edition. The central place it has gained in Europe by sharing and spreading ideas in science makes it a natural partner.” 

ERC President Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon also commented: “The participation of five ERC laureates in this TEDx Brussels event is testament to the ERC's ability to inspire minds with passionate and innovative research leaders on stage. TEDx talks are a most welcome exercise of popularising science and we really look forward to listening to a new strain of thought-provoking presentation.”

The series of ERC talks included:

  • Professor Jonathan Coleman, physicist specialising in graphene and two-dimensional nanostructures based at AMBER, the materials science centre. He showed the audience how graphene can be made in a kitchen blender. (Find out more here)
  • Dr Tiziana Rossetto, expert in earthquake engineering discussed how by simulating tsunamis she can help better inform engineers and architects in areas under threat from natural disasters. (Find out more here)
  • Professor Ulf Leonhardt, theoretical physicist and author of the first paper on invisibility cloaking with metamaterials demonstrated the possibility of invisibility with optics. (Find out more here)
  • Dr Laura Robinson, is an ocean scientist whose research has taken her to the most remote places on earth. She talked about how the ocean's environment is changing and give clues as to what might happen in the future. (Find out more here)

In addition, Professor Christopher Pissarides, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences took a fresh look at unemployment in Europe (Find out more here).

TEDx Brussels is an independently organised TED event. TEDx conferences take place around the world and have their origins in the Silicon Valley technology community in the USA. The events bring excellent speakers and ideas to local communities, and the talks have had hundreds of millions of views on YouTube.