“The time has come,” the scientist said, to talk of many things: Of wool, of food, of jumping fleas, of honeybees and stings.”

Our Occasional Lecture of 13 September 2019 featured Dr Mickey Huson, a retired CSIRO Scientist.

With apologies to Lewis Carroll for slightly subverting his famous line, Dr Huson, who holds a PhD in Polymer Science, went onto inform us in an entertaining manner, about some of his research in the 30 years he spent with CSIRO in Geelong.  Originally from South Africa, he worked mainly in the wool, fiber and textile area.

Dr Huson told us how the atomic force microscopy laboratory at CSIRO in Geelong was key to the team that unraveled the mystery of lipid location and homogeneity on the surface of wool fiber.

As the introduction denotes, nature provides a starting point for enquiring minds to use innovative research tools to produce useful materials for our lives.  Who knew that bees produce silk, and that fleas and dragonflies produce a soft rubber like material called resilin, that allows them great feats such as jumping great distances relative to their body size?  Dr Huson was involved in the research that aimed to understand the composition of these materials, with the potential for these materials to be made synthetically for practical commercial application.

A group of 29 people were engaged and entertained, and when asked if they like more lectures with a scientific bent, the answer was a resounding “Yes.”

Article kindly written by Sue Newson

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