Events Calendar

Pirkey Centennial Lecture - Exploring the Intersection Between Science and Design by Merging 200 Years of Innovation History.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Location: EER 3.646

In this seminar I will narrate some stories of our laboratory’s journey at the interface between science and design. We will discuss how being exposed to a completely different learning ecosystem, such as that of fashion design, has not only made us better material chemists, but also has empowered fashion design students at Cornell to explore new dimensions of design.

The common theme of our journey has been cotton:  a natural fiber that have been used in close proximity by humans for over 6,000 years.  The materials science we have explored using this unconventional approach has enabled the creation of cotton fabrics that are chemically permselective, electrically conductive, capable of changing colors, and capable of sensing biomarkers from sweat. These discoveries not only have generated numerus publications and patents, but also have allowed us to use fashion as a vehicle to better communicate science to early youth. 

Anecdotal evidence indicates that younger generations are more open to explore diverse and non-related academic fields, but sometimes strict scheduling and course requirements hinder that exploration. Our work has attracted non-traditional science-related majors such as religious studies, fashion design, creative arts, theater, as well as hospitality management and business majors to explore science and engineering during their college years.   We have explored the interaction of cotton substrates with a myriad of nanomaterials including nanolayers, nanorods, nanoparticles, metal-organic frameworks, and other conformal coatings—a true synergy between natural and synthetic materials.  We hope this seminar can open a larger discussion on the benefits of exposing other majors to science and engineering and the motivating force that design can have in science and engineering education and materials science research.


Juan P. Hinestroza, a U.S. Fulbright Scholar and a PMP®, is the Rebecca Q. Morgan '60 Professor of Fiber Science & Apparel Design, and directs The Textiles Nanotechnology Laboratory at the College of Human Ecology of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Professor Hinestroza works on understanding fundamental phenomena at the nanoscale that are of relevance to Fiber and Polymer Science. Hinestroza, is inventor of more than 33 granted international patents; author of over 100 peer-reviewed articles and 5 book chapters; and co-editor of a seminal book on cellulose-based green composites. Hinestroza’s pioneering work has enabled the creation of 3 start-up companies, and he has served as a consultant to major Fortune50 corporations, and investment banks in the field of smart and interactive textiles and fibers

Speaker: Dr. Juan Hinestroza, Cornell University