My name is Dr Chris Forman. I am a biophysicist. I study the science which underpins nature’s fantastic ability to make virtually any design of object from shells to palms trees, from pigs to pansies, using the same set of basic elements: mostly C, H, N, O and S. And quite small amount of a lot of other stuff.
My current aim is to build a strong physical understanding of biology to enable the introduction of novel materials and processes that will improve the performance and enhance the sustainability of commercial mainstream technology, so that larger scale systems, like economics, cannot help being sustainable. My basic strategy is to develop a single common manufacturing technology, analogous to the central dogma in biology and standard protocols in communications systems, which is capable of managing basic chemistry and waste flows while allowing local control over the assembly of these materials into larger scale products such as food or clothes.
My first degree was in theoretical physics (Edinburgh 1999) and my early career was in satellite communications. However, I have since acquired degrees in nanotechnology (Cambridge 2005) and a PhD in biophysics (Cambridge 2009). Since then I have worked at the Institute of Manufacturing and the Department of Chemistry studying the role of information in material and how it affects self-assembly processes in materials. At the moment I am studying bone as a prototype material.
I have recently authored and delivered a series of lectures on Bio-nanotechnology as part of the Nanotechnology MPhil and NanoDTC programme at Cambridge University and I have also written two public outreach lectures entitled ‘Can iPods Grow On Trees?’ and ‘Rubik’s Planet’, which I am happy to deliver anywhere on Earth at the drop of a hat.