Thursday, January 22, 2015 - 7:00pm

Plastics from Plants: Sexy and Sustainable

Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 - 7 p.m.
(Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Smith Hall, Room 100
University of Minnesota
207 Pleasant Street SE, Minneapolis

Plastics are everywhere. Can we enjoy the benefits of plastics in modern society while being good stewards of the Earth and its natural resources? Find out in the next College of Science and Engineering Public Lecture.

Presented by Marc A. Hillmyer, Director of the Center for Sustainable Polymers and University of Minnesota Department of Chemistry Distinguished McKnight University Professor


The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Space is limited so register early! Seating is first-come, first-served the day of the event.

About the Lecture:

Plastics are some of the most versatile, useful, and high performance materials developed by scientists and engineers over the past century. Polymers are the giant molecules that make up plastic, and these modern wonders are found in our cars, clothes, couches, containers, carpets, coffee cups, and cell phones. From high strength fibers to ultra sticky adhesives to super absorbent materials, polymers play a pivotal role in so many technologies, both advanced and mundane.

Because they are everywhere, polymers and plastics are also "environmentally challenged." Nearly all plastics come from non-renewable resources, like oil and natural gas and persist in the environment if disposed of indiscriminately. However, polymers are so useful, cheap, and enabling that we are stuck with them. The challenge is to design, discover, and develop methods that transform biorenewable starting materials into innovative polymeric products that are even better, cheaper and sustainable.

This lecture will highlight researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) and their focus on the basic research needed to make sustainable plastics a reality. Hillmyer will introduce you to the fascinating world of polymers and discuss efforts that will help define the future of plastics.

About the Speaker:

Marc Hillmyer
Professor Marc Hillmyer received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Florida and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. After completing a postdoctoral research position in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science he joined the Department of Chemistry faculty at Minnesota in 1997. He is currently a Distinguished McKnight University Professor and leads a research group focused on the synthesis and self-assembly of multifunctional polymers. In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, Hillmyer serves as an associate editor for the American Chemical Society journal Macromolecules and is the director of the Center for Sustainable Polymers at the University of Minnesota, a National Science Foundation Center for Chemical Innovation.

For more information, contact Megan Orr at or 612-625-3767. You can also visit the College of Science and Engineering's event page.

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