MATERIALS MATTER: From the big bang to drug delivery

Gravitational waves and drug delivery. Imaging and nanoparticles. Do they have anything in common? All these scientific fields are at some level related to materials and the properties of them, as is everything in the environment we live in.

"MATERIALS MATTER: From the big bang to drug delivery" is a open webinar about how some very different fields of science observe materials.

In 2015, humans detected gravitational waves for the first time. They were ripples in the fabric of space and time, released from two black holes spiraling and merging together around 1.3 billion years ago. Now, physicists focus on a new challenge: how can we detect gravitational waves that are even older – having formed 13.8 billion years ago, when the universe was just a fraction of a second old?

Closer to the Earth (but still in outer space), energetic particles surfing on electromagnetic waves are accelerating at a tiny fraction of the speed of light. They have inspired scientists to build miniature accelerators that could fit on a dining table. However, there’s an additional complication: how do we build materials that can survive long-lasting exposure to extreme electric fields and high-energy radiation found in laboratory experiments and natural environments?

Moreover, materials matter in closer quarters than outer space. The pandemic has reminded us all of the dramatic impact that diseases can have on our life and the role scientists take in improving our individual and collective well-being. One example is ongoing research on smart drug release, where molecules that can be activated by light once they reach the desired target in a patient’s body. Another is the delicate use of mathematical tools to extract crucial imaging of bodily organs required in medical diagnostics.

If you want to learn how scientists approach these challenges and many more, join us at this virtual event. One of the speakers is Shirin Tavakoli, from our Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology group. She presents about the unique challenges of drug delivery to the eye. The other excellent presentations are also highly recommended in this very diverse event. Most presentations are in English, but some are in Finnish as indicated below.

You can view the recording of this virtual event by accessing the following link:

MATERIALS MATTER: From the big bang to drug delivery


1. Samuli Siltanen: Viipalekuvaus – kolmiulotteinen röntgenkatse (in Finnish)

2. Shirin Tavakoli: How can nano-sized drug carriers, a thousand times smaller than a human hair, help us treat eye diseases?

3. Daniel Cutting: Listening for the origins of the Universe with cosmological gravitational waves

4. Robert Luxenhofer: 3D printing for biomedical applications and soft robotics

5. Heta Nieminen: Nanoja pinoon – arkipäivän materiaalikemiaa (in Finnish)

6. Adnane Osmane: The surprising link between turbulent winds in the sky and particles traveling at the speed of light in space

7. Walter Wuensch: Developing particle accelerator technology – from high-energy physics to cancer therapy