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TED Quotes

Using nature to grow batteries

My dream: to be able to drive a virus-powered car. — Angela Belcher

Synopsis

Inspired by an abalone shell, Angela Belcher programmes viruses to make elegant nanoscale structures that humans can use. Selecting for high-performing genes through directed evolution, Belcher has produced viruses that can construct powerful new batteries, clean hydrogen fuels and record-breaking solar cells. Here, she shows us how it's done. Talk recorded 14 January 2011.

About the Speaker

Angela Belcher looks to nature for inspiration on how to engineer viruses to create extraordinary new materials. With a bachelors in Creative Studies and a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry, Angela Belcher has made a career out of finding surprising and innovative solutions to energy problems.

As head of the Biomolecular Materials Group at MIT, Belcher brings together the fields of materials chemistry, electrical engineering and molecular biology to engineer viruses that can create batteries and clean energy sources. A MacArthur Fellow, she also founded Cambrios Technologies, a Cambridge-based startup focused on applying her work with natural biological systems to the manufacture and assembly of electronic, magnetic and other commercially important materials. Time magazine named her a climate-change hero in 2007.

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