Outreach

In the Press

Our article "Self-assembly of dynamic orthoester cryptates" (Nature Commun. 2015, 6, 7129) and the corresponding press release, highlighting the possibility of using these compounds for transdermal drug delivery, was featured in a number of news outlets:

Public Lecture on Molecular Machines

In November 2016, Prof. Max von Delius presented a lecture with the title "Molekulare Maschinen: Faszinierende Bausteine des Lebens und Gegenstand aktueller Forschung" as part of the Studium Generale at the University of Ulm. The lecture started with an introduction on the recent Nobel Prize in Chemistry, awarded to Profs. Sauvage, Stoddart and Feringa "for the design and synthesis of molecular machines". In the first part of the talk, biological motor proteins, ranging from the ATP Synthase to the Ribosome and Kinesin were discussed with the help of freely available video clips.  In the second part of the talk, selected studies on artificial molecular machines and motors, created in the labs of organic chemists, were presented and explained.

 

A vivid, nearly 30-minute-long discussion ensued between by the audience of ca. 50 people and Prof. Max von Delius on topics such as the role of Brownian motion, the working/walking mechanism of Kinesin, the concepts of unidirectionality and chirality, the principles of condensation reactions and the Na/K ion pump.

The Usefulness of Basic Research

In January 2016, Dr. Max von Delius presented a lecture with the title "Why Basic Research is Useful - for Society and for YOU" as part of a Brown Bag Break hosted by the Faculty of Sciences. The lecture described some stunning anecdotes of research that was never intended to be useful, but ended up being transformative at an enormous level. Going beyond anecdotes, two insightful papers on this topic were discussed: Flexner's 1939 essay "The usefulness of useless knowledge" and William Press' perspective "What’s So Special About Science(And How Much Should We Spend on It?)", which convincingly argues that basic science is a common good.

 

Finally, some personal thoughts were addressed to the audience that mainly consisted of scientists and engineers. In essence, a PhD or a postdoctorate can be characterized as a highly meaningful endeavour in itself (by pushing the boundaries of human knowledge).

Science meets Art

Research on supramolecular systems often gives rise to esthetically appealing molecular structures. We have reached out to silversmith Anne Fischer and asked her to create a macroscopic version of one of our orthoester cryptates, which goes by the technical name [Na+@o-Me2-1.1.1]. The stunning result of this collaboration is shown in the photograph on the left hand side.

 

"Cryptands are chemical compounds capable of strongly binding metal ions. Since their discovery, these molecules have found widespread technological applications and their esthetic appeal has inspired chemists and artists alike. Brachvogel et al. report a one-pot synthesis of a new class of cryptands based on orthoester bridgeheads. The image shows a real-world model (size ca. 30 cm) created by a silversmith from atomic coordinates provided by single-crystal X-ray data."

 

For a link to silversmith Anne Fischer's homepage click here.

Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften 2015

The Delius group contributed the well-received experimental lecture "chemistry of beer" to the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften 2015 (a regional initiative for the dissemination of science to the general public). Here is some information in German:

 

Zur Chemie des Bieres (Experimentalvortrag)

Zeit: 24.10.2015, 20:30 - 22:00 Uhr

Ort: Hörsaal H1 im Südgelände (Egerlandstr. 1, 91058 Erlangen)

 

Dieser Vortrag gibt einen Überblick über die Chemie hinter dem Lieblingsgetränk der Franken. Was steckt chemisch hinter den berühmten Zutaten Wasser, Hopfen, Malz und Hefe? Was passiert eigentlich beim Brauen? Wie kommt der Alkohol ins Bier? Was steckt hinter dem typischen Geschmack oder der Schaumkrone? Ausgewählte Brauschritte werden im Hörsaal live demonstriert.