Best of Macros 2017: Christoph Weder

Christoph Weder is the Director of the Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI) at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and leads the Swiss National Center of Competence in Research, Bio-Inspired Materials. Chris was educated at ETH Zurich and held positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, and Case Western Reserve University, before joining the AMI as Professor for Polymer Chemistry and Materials in 2009. His group investigates stimuli-responsive polymers, supramolecular materials, bio-inspired materials, and polymer nano­composites. Chris has trained about 70 Ph.D. students and postdocs, co-authored about 230 research papers and book chapters, and he is co-inventor of nearly twenty patents.

His article “Fabrication and Properties of Polyethylene/Cellulose Nanocrystal Composites” in Macromolecular Materials and Engineering has been selected for this year’s Best of Macros.

Ask the Author

What is your scientific background? I am a hybrid between a chemist and a material scientist.

Why did your choose the area of macromolecular science? A mix of reasons, the most important probably being that my father is a (now retired) polymer scientist.

What other topics are you working on at the moment? In addition to nanocellulose-based composites, my group is working on functional supramolecular polymers, bio-inspired mechanochemical transduction processes involving polymers, polymers for optical upconversion, and a few other things.

What prompted you to investigate this topic/problem? Many polymer/nanocellulose composites have been shown to exhibit useful mechanical properties but the technological exploitation of such materials will only be possible if technologically viable processes for their preparation can be developed. We hope the work described in our paper will contribute to solving this problem.

In one word, how would you describe your research? Creative?

The best advice I have ever been given is…to strive for the maximum.

If I were not a scientist, I would be a….journalist, chef, or beer brewer.

Fabrication and Properties of Polyethylene/Cellulose Nanocrystal Composites
Janak Sapkota, Jens C. Natterodt, Anuja Shirole, Earl Johan Foster, Christoph Weder*
Macromol. Mater. Eng. 2017, 302, 1600300
DOI: 10.1002/mame.201600300

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