WEMMA
West of England Metals and Materials Association
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What’s in my stuff?

Karen Vernon-Parry, Sheffield Hallam University

Venue: Bristol University - Room TBA

March 2015

In today’s developed societies we all own an unprecedented amount of “stuff” and nothing is more representative of this than our ownership of mobile phones. The increasing numbers of aspirational middle class populations in both developed and developing nations suggests these numbers will continue to grow significantly. While our desire for the latest model and functionality appears to grow unabated the recycling rate of mobile devices is remarkably low. It is our general ignorance of the chemical elements contained within a device, many of which are classed as strategically important elements, that is of great concern. What’s In My Stuff? is an interdisciplinary research project which brings together science and art in a creative and multi-sensory way, extending traditional boundaries that uses the ubiquitous technology of the mobile phone to explore the public’s relationship with modern day technology, its attitude to the source and recycling of often rare or precious chemical elements and how our knowledge of “what’s in our stuff” can influence the rates of recycling and ownership.

Bits of phone Elements

Karen Vernon-Parry studied Materials Science at Oxford University where she completed her DPhil on the microstructure and properties of superconducting thin films. After a post-doctoral position at Oxford, she moved to the University of Manchester and then to UMIST. She came to Sheffield Hallam University in 2004 where she became a Senior Lecturer in 2006 and a Principal Lecturer in 2013.

Karen's research interests are in the relations between the structures and the physical properties of materials at the atomic scale which she has investigated in functional ceramics, aluminium alloys and semiconducting materials. Karen is a STEM ambassador and runs activities on topics as diverse as the quickest way to rescue Lego people trapped in ice, how to detect fake pound coins and the chemical elements found in technology.

The talk will be followed by a discussion.

Members and non-members are welcome.



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