ENTREPRENEUR BIZ TIPS: Turning Sound into Matter | Buehler Buehler | TEDxMIT

ENTREPRENEUR BIZ TIPS: Turning Sound into Matter | Buehler Buehler | TEDxMIT

Here’s Great Tip: Turning Sound into Matter | Buehler Buehler | TEDxMIT


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The Nexus of Materialized Sound and Sonified Material – Nature produces a variety of materials with many functions, often out of simple and abundant materials, and at low energy. Such systems – examples of which include spider webs, nacre or proteins in our cells – provide inspiration for engineering, and offer new paradigms for sustainable design. In this talk we explore a new perspective of materials science at the interface of matter and sound, to enable a new design paradigm, using a variety of tools including molecular modeling, AI and machine learning, and experimental synthesis and characterization. By translating the molecular vibrations of proteins – the basic building blocks of life – into audible signals, we provide a coding system of living matter. By manipulating sound, detecting mutations, this concept offers a physics-based compositional technique to create new music, which is akin to finding a new palette of colors for a painter. Here, the nanomechanical structure of matter, reflected in an oscillatory framework, presents a new palette for sound generation, and can complement or support human creativity, transcending scales, species and manifestations of matter. Markus J. Buehler is the McAfee Professor of Engineering at MIT and leads MIT’s Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics. His primary research interests focus on the structure and mechanical properties of biological and bio-inspired materials, to characterize, model and create materials with architectural features from the nano- to the macro-scale. His most recent book, Biomateriomics, presents a new design paradigm for the analysis of biomaterials using a categorization approach that translates insights from disparate fields such as materials and music, and offers a new hierarchical design approach at the nexus of sound and matter.

Buehler serves as the president of the board of directors for the Society of Engineering Science, on the executive committee for the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST), and others. He is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of the Behavior of Biomedical Materials (JMBBM) and BioNanoScience, and serves on the editorial board of numerous journals. He served as the chair of several conferences, societal committees, and is actively involved in public outreach (including an annual materials research camp at MIT with local middle and high schools), as well as translation of basic research through entrepreneurship. In addition to his teaching at MIT, he offers an annual Professional Education class “Predictive Multiscale Materials Design”. He was recently elected as MRS Fall 2021 Meeting Chair.

Buehler is the recipient of many awards including the Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award, the Alfred Noble Prize, the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, the Leonardo da Vinci Award, and the Thomas J.R. Hughes Young Investigator Award. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award, the United States Air Force Young Investigator Award, the Navy Young Investigator Award, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award, as well as the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). In 2018, Buehler was selected as a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics. In 2019, he received the Materials Horizons Outstanding Paper Prize, and his work was recognized as a highly cited author by the Royal Society of Chemistry. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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