Podcast Episodes

E5 – Dr Edwin Johnson | Smart Surfaces of the Future

I am joined (in late Dec 2020) by Dr Edwin Johnson, a recent PhD graduate from the University of Newcastle and current Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Sheffield. We discuss his PhD titled Competition in Polymer Brushes – Understanding specific ion effects in complex environments.

Ed’s Twitter @Ed_Johnson_Au

Ed’s Google Scholar 


Temperature dependent specific ion effects in mixed salt environments on a thermoresponsive poly(oligoethylene glycol methacrylate) brush

Interplay of Composition, pH, and Temperature on the Conformation of Multi-stimulus-responsive Copolymer Brushes: Comparison of Experiment and Theory

Enrichment of Charged Monomers Explains Non-monotonic Polymer Volume Fraction Profiles of Multi-stimulus Responsive Copolymer Brushes

The direction of influence of specific ion effects on a pH and temperature responsive copolymer brush is dependent on polymer charge


00:00:57 – Intro

00:01:40 – Decision to do a PhD

00:03:33 – Changes through the PhD

00:05:19 – Submitting a PhD during COVID

00:08:20 – Break down of Ed’s Thesis. Bridging chemistry and biology with polymers. What is a polymer brush?

00:15:00 – Throwing out logistics for potential applications. Spider-man gloves. Sound responsive polymers for deafness?

00:20:21 – Projects of the thesis.

00:21:00 – Specific ion effects.

00:23:20 – Mixtures of salts; mixtures of polymers

00:25:26 – Multi-stimulus responsive polymers

00:26:05 – Neutron Reflectometry

00:26:47 – Competitive specific ion effects

00:29:14 – ANSTO – researching with neutrons. Nuclear research.

00:34:14 – Neutron Reflectometry vs Ellipsometry – how they work

00:37:45 – Music – the importance of other passions during a PhD.

00:39:21 – Live Melodica music

00:40:21 – Exercise (Running and Street Orienteering)

00:41:42 – Travelling during the PhD

00:44:16 – Moving to the UK. Postdoctoral position the University of Sheffield. Concern about travelling.

00:55:00 – Differences in research with the Netherlands

00:57:26 – Anything you could research.

01:05:44 – Working hard, or smart?

01:10:38 – Wrapping up

Bonus Content

01:12:55 – Food science – so complicated at the chemical level.

01:18:26 – Ethics discussion on using cadavers on bypass for research?

01:25:00 – Hype science and journalism.

01:27:42 – How does smell work?

01:29:26 – Mouth feel science.

01:32:12 – Aussie chat.

01:34:44 – Call out for Aussie things for Ed to take to the UK?