Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Brains for progress: Scientists are changing the world

Painstakingly, and incrementally, scientists are changing the world.

Quirky or big-impact science makes headlines, but there is also a side to science which people seldom see. These technical discoveries from across the world are low key, but have a cumulative effect.

And it’s these little breakthroughs that form the bulk of incremental improvements to the technology which supports our daily lives.

Take Prof Dr Luqman Chuah Abdullah, a chemical engineer who studies fillers added to packaging materials to enhance their strength.

“I develop vegetable-based fillers” isn’t exactly the most riveting conversation-starter.

Yet it’s scientists like him who are helping to develop alternatives to toxic metal fillers, making our hot soup and drink containers less of a long term-health risk.

Meet the scientists who are creating things, adding value, and contributing to society in subtle, often unseen ways:

Prof Raja Noor Zaliha has scoured hot springs, pools of palm oil mill waste, and even the oily soil next to Selangor’s bustling night markets for exciting new enzyme-producing microbes to give Malaysia a one-up in the global biotechnology market.

And then there’s Dr Chantara Thevy Ratnam, whose award-winning radiation-sterilisable plastic compounds hold great promise as a manufacturing material for bio-medical equipment.

Join us for an interview with three of the Academy Of Sciences Malaysia’s 2013 intake for its Top Research Scientist Malaysia database – a repository of this country’s scientific crème de la crème – as we find out what drives the brainy workhorses who keep this planet moving forward.

Behind every innovation, no matter how big or how small, is a scientist.

This feature acknowledges the incredible talent behind the small innovations that make our lives better, healthier and more convenient.

Related stories: 

Prof Dr Raja Noor Zaliha: Adventures in microbe hunting

Dr Luqman Chuah Abdullah: Driven to innovate

Dr Chantara Thevy Ratnam: Polymer power

Getting to the next level in the world of science

Tags / Keywords: Science Technology , ASM , science , rubber , plants , plastics , enzymes


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