Mineralogical Society Distinguished Lecture at NUI Galway

Nov 21 2007 Posted: 00:00 GMT
'Minerals, metals, molecules and microbes' The Mineralogical Society Distinguished Lecturers programme comes to the Environmental Change Institute, NUI Galway, on Thursday 29 November, with a lecture by Professor David Vaughan of the University of Manchester. Professor Vaughan will deliver a lecture on "Minerals, metals, molecules and microbes: environmental mineralogy and sustainability", at 8pm, with refreshments from 7.30pm, in the Orbsen Building Seminar Room. Environmental mineralogy is the study of minerals with the purpose of understanding and assessing their influence in the movement and fixing of organic and inorganic contaminants at and near the earth's surface. According to Professor David Vaughan, of the University of Manchester, "Metals are critically important both as resources and potential pollutants. Understanding how they can be concentrated or dispersed at the Earth's surface depends on new knowledge, at the molecular scale, of processes involving mineral surfaces, ultrafine particles and mineral-microbe interactions." The lecture will address the following questions: How do we use minerals to contain waste? Can minerals offer green solutions to the problems of waste management? How do minerals assist in the remediation of contaminated soils and waters? How do flora and fauna interact with minerals in rocks and how do they work to break down stone buildings and walls? What are some of the state-of-the-art techniques used to study metal cycling in the environment? Dr. Martin Feely, of the Geofluids Research Group in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at NUI Galway, says that, "On a local level, one of the most visual examples of the importance of mineral-microbe interactions is the manner in which lichen work to degrade Ireland's old stone walls. Understanding how this process occurs is relevant for geologists, archaeologists, environmental consultants, botanists and microbiologists." This lecture is free and open to the public and is hosted by NUI Galway's Environmental Change Institute (ECI) and Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences. For more information please contact sarah.knight@nuigalway.ie or phone 091 495061.