Why should I be interested in Materials?

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Professor Lesley Cornish
DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials, School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering

Why Should I be Interested in Materials?

Materials are part of our everyday life, and we often take them for granted. Few people think about why certain materials are used in their cars, cell phones or even for the kettle. This talk unpacks the properties of certain materials, and why these materials have those properties. From there, it shows why certain materials are used for certain applications. The talk also shows how materials can be manipulated to change their structures and therefore their properties, and some examples will be given. The talk will finish by showing how materials can solve some of our environmental problems.

Some people think that Prof. Lesley Cornish does not know where she’s at: she’s British, born in Uganda, and has lived in South Africa for 28 years. She obtained her BSc (Metallurgy and Materials), MSc (Computer Science) and PhD (Metallurgy and Materials) from the University of Birmingham, UK. She is a Physical Metallurgist and has been working on alloy development almost continually since her PhD, at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, University of the Witwatersrand and Mintek. Her research has focused mainly on platinum-based alloys, cermets, as well as the derivation of phase diagrams.

Prof. Cornish is currently supervising or co-supervising 12 postgraduate students, mainly at Wits University, with 30 MSc and 20 PhD students already graduated. When not working, she enjoys travelling to places without cell phone coverage, and is a very keen birder. She has recently returned from a birding trip in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia, with an unscheduled stop in Kyrgystan on the way home. She is also a keen photographer, especially of wildlife. She is an Honorary Officer for the North West Parks and Tourism Board, and has had the privileged of working with rhinos, lions and wild dogs. Prof Cornish is an NSTF-South 32 award winner.

This lecture is supported by the National Science & Technology Forum


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