May 19, 2016  

Science on Tap to feature talk on the unexpected properties of ordinary materials

Babak Ziaie

Babak Ziaie 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue electrical and computer engineering professor Babak Ziaie will headline next week's Science on Tap with a discussion on the untapped potential of everyday materials.

The talk, titled "MagicTM Tape, Real Science," is at 6 p.m. May 26 in the upstairs of Lafayette Brewing Company, 622 Main St. Lafayette. The informal talk is free and open to those 21 and older. Event sponsors are the Purdue School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and Discovery Park.

"If everyday surrounding materials are looked at with more than a cursory manner, they can offer a unique opportunity to delve deeper into some extraordinary scientific phenomena," Ziaie said.

One material that has proven itself particularly versatile is Magic Tape, a product usually used to wrap Christmas and birthday presents. Over the past few years, Ziaie has done multiple kitchen-top experiments with the product and has discovered intriguing properties that can be used to make inexpensive sensors and tiny robots.

"We take many ordinary things for granted, but they can be magical and a source of endless fascination if one starts tinkering with them," he said.

Ziaie's research focuses include biomedical micro and nanosystems, bioMEMS, implantable wireless microsystems, micro- and nanofabrication technology, biomimetics, soft condensed matter and analog circuit design for biomedical applications.

He received the NSF Career Award in Biomedical Engineering (2001) and the McKnight Endowment Fund Award for Technological Innovations in Neuroscience (2002). He is a member of IEEE, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Physical Society. Ziaie received his doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1994.

Science on Tap, led by graduate students Nelda Vazquez, Andrew Hesselbrock and Paula Cooper, provides Purdue faculty and collaborating researchers the opportunity to share research activities in an informal setting with presentations that are designed to appeal to a more general audience. Attendance at the monthly event has averaged 80 during the program's first four years. 

Writers: Emily Sigg, 765-494-4719, 

Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, 

Sources: Babak Ziaie, 765-494-3512,

Nelda Vazquez, 765-496-1487,

Andrew Hesselbrock,

Paula Cooper,   

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