How can blue begonias help end the food scarcity crisis?

30 January 2017, 1.00 PM - 30 January 2017, 2.00 PM

Dr Ruth Oulton, Senior Lecturer, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

MVB1.11, Merchant Venturers Building, Woodland Road

Women in engineering would like to invite you to become inspired by how women are changing the world with engineering by attending the first lecture in the series.


Photonics is the design and engineering of structures that control the flow of light. Engineers have been using structures with a periodic pattern of the length-scale of the wavelength of light (a few 100nm) for decades to create miniature lasers, optical fibres, and photonic circuits. However, it seems that Nature got there first: a team of collaborators lead by engineer/physicist Dr. Oulton and biologist Heather Whitney has shown that an unusual blue sheen in plants such as Begonia and seaweed arise from photonic structures made by the plant. These help to improve light capture at low light levels to aid photosynthesis. Dr. Oulton will explain how these designs may be used in the future in biomimetic designs to improve photosynthetic yield in algal farms and for more efficient crops. She will also discuss her experiences of how working in an interdisciplinary team, and how important this is for tackling global engineering challenges.

Dr. Ruth Oulton is a Senior Lecturer with an interest in understanding how light and matter interact and applying it to important problems in technology. Her main focus of research is in quantum technology, where single particles of light, photons, are generated from semiconductors and used to process information in a photonic circuit, but her research is often strongly interdisciplinary in nature. She is an EPSRC Quantum Technologies Fellow, and has a joint lectureship in the Dept. of Electrical & Electronic Engineering and in the School of Physics.

All genders and disciplines are welcome and free pizza will be available.

Sections of the lecture will be filmed for a film for Bristol Science film festival so please let us know if this will be a problem for you.

Please visit the Facebook event page and click attending for catering purposes.

If you would like to hear more about what Women in Engineering are doing within the Faculty including more talks in the series, please:

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