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2020-2021 Networking Groups

During 2020-2021, three interdisciplinary research networking groups met virtually around the topics described below.

Addressing Climate Change
The impacts of climate change are being felt and will continue to grow during the coming decade. The “Addressing Climate Change” research networking group addressed climate change mitigation, adaptation, and communication from the perspectives of predicted impacts on people and systems, technology development, social and environmental equity, and fiscal and public policy.

This group was led by Niall Mangan from Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics in McCormick; Linsey Seitz from Chemical and Biological Engineering in McCormick; and Kimberly Marion Suiseeya from Political Science in Weinberg.

Chicago: Addressing Urban Challenges as a Community
Modern cities like Chicago are grappling with a myriad of challenges and stressors shaped by the current and historical effects of factors related to racism and other forms of discrimination, economics, health inequities, crime, environmental design and infrastructure, policies and political decision-making, among others. Building upon the energy of the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 groups and in collaboration with community partners, the new “Chicago: Addressing Urban Challenges as a Community” group used evidence-based problem-solving from across disciplines to better understand Chicago’s challenges and explore productive ways forward.

 This group was led by Katherine Amato from Anthropology in Weinberg; Kiarri Kershaw from Preventive Medicine in Feinberg; and James Hambleton from Civil and Environmental Engineering in McCormick.

Soft Matter and New Materials
Soft materials are a class of materials characterized by their ability to deform, rearrange, and flow under relatively low and human-scale forces. Soft materials are essential components of our everyday lives, including shampoo, toothpaste, ice cream, plastic bottles, battery components, and rubber bands, as well as emerging technologies like 3D-printed prosthetics, skin-interfaced sensors, and polymer composites. Due to the disordered and dynamic microstructure of these materials, we cannot rely on many traditional material science techniques to understand them, but their disordered and dynamic nature also provides rich opportunities to design properties and responses that cannot exist in 'traditional' hard materials. Understanding how to manipulate and design these soft materials to have desirable properties, functions, and dynamics is a grand interdisciplinary challenge, and this group was used as a vehicle to unite and strengthen soft matters efforts here at Northwestern.

This group was led by Michelle Driscoll from Physics and Astronomy in Weinberg; Julia Kalow from Chemistry in Weinberg; and Jeffrey Richards from Chemical and Biological Engineering in McCormick.

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