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Researching polymer physics at Cambridge University

Professor Eugene Terentjev discusses researching polymer physics in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge

Eugene Terentjev is the professor of Polymer Physics in Cambridge University. In the last 30 years Eugene has been involved in broad areas in soft condensed matter, in particular, functional polymers and liquid crystals, with over 300 original papers and reviews, and several books on the subject. Over this time he held a number of grants from the EC, EPSRC, Royal Society and industry, currently funded by an ERC Advanced Grant focused on dynamically crosslinked liquid crystalline elastomers, including composites with nanoparticles (in both areas this group is a clear world leader). The experimental group that Eugene runs has a large polymer chemistry facility, and a full set of physical characterisation equipment and expertise. In 2019 Eugene has founded a spin-off company “Cambridge Smart Plastics”, which now carries forward the commercialisation and industrial knowledge transfer.

Biological and Soft Systems is a research sector of Cavendish Laboratory devoted to multidisciplinary research. The sector has a broad range of additional expertise, from biophysics to nanotechnology, which is crucial for different aspects of research at the interface of traditional subjects. Cavendish Laboratory is a famous world’s institution, recognised by many awards. It is located in the West Cambridge, which is a technology hub of Cambridge University, where the Departments of Physics, Materials, Chemical Engineering, Computing Science, Centre for Nanotechnology, Graphene Centre, and the Institute for Manufacturing are located within a few hundred meters from each other and have an established mechanism of sharing equipment and facility access. There is also direct access to the local industrial community via Cambridge Cleantech network, the Cambridgeshire County Council development board, and to the broader industry landscape via the Maxwell Centre. Cambridge Smart Plastics is embedded in the Laboratory and the Maxwell Centre, and develops the translation technology, bridging from the academic research in polymer science in the Cavendish to real-life industrial applications.

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world uses plastics, cambridge smart plastics

The road to changing how the world uses plastics

Here, we talk to Professor of Polymer Physics Eugene Terentjev, at the University of Cambridge, about the way the world uses plastics.