Episode 18 of Through the Gates aired via SoundCloud Sunday, May 29.
This week, Through the Gates host Jim Shanahan was joined by Trevor Douglas, the Earl Blough Professor of Chemistry in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Chemistry. We also heard from acclaimed author Dana Johnson.
Trevor Douglas is part of a research team working toward a material that may eventually fuel cheap, efficient cars that run on water — work being funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The team has created an efficient biomaterial that catalyzes the formation of hydrogen — one half of the “holy grail” of splitting H2O. This new material — a virus known as P22 — is 150 times more efficient than the unaltered form of the enzyme.
Douglas talks about the path to his current profession and the hydrogen biofuel discovery. “One of the things that’s so great about biology is that it’s self-regenerating,” Douglas said. “There are organisms where if you cut off a limb they regrow the limb. What we want to do is to use that idea — can we make materials that can self-heal, that can be replaced easily. We’re taking little pieces of it and reconfiguring it.”
Also on this episode, we’ll hear from California-based author Dana Johnson, an associate professor of English at the University of Southern California, who talks about her writing process and reads an excerpt from one of her novels. Johnson will be in town next week as a faculty member at the annual IU Writers’ Conference (June 4-8). “I like to demystify the process of writing,” Johnson said. “All of these writers we love, they sat down, and they wrote something and then they scratched it out and they tried … again and again and again and again.”
Through the Gates: IU This Week is a collaboration of the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, The Media School in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the IU Newsroom. All episodes are available through SoundCloud and iTunes, or on the Media School website.