Vaclav Smil, prolific author and professor emeritus of environment and geography at the University of Manitoba, received well-earned accolades from Bill Gates this past summer. “There is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil,” Gates wrote. If that’s not the sign of an author ahead of his time, we’re not sure what is.
WIRED Magazine picked up the lead and published a wonderfully insightful interview with Smil just yesterday. In the interview, it is apparent that Smil is just as ambitious as he is smart: he tackles huge subjects, from food sustainability to renewable energy energy, and holds everyone responsible from Apple to the US government. A man of seemingly endless energy, he has written more than 30 books, with 3 published in the past year alone. Here are two of them:
The challenges of integrating various scientific disciplines are nowhere more apparent than in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM). In this field, two of the most divergent disciplines—Biology and Physics/Engineering—must partner closely to make progress for regenerative medicine. In his recently published book Extreme Tissue Engineering: Concepts and Strategies for Tissue Fabrication, Robert Brown provides a thought-provoking look into the issues faced by anyone working in TERM and keeping both novices and experts alike engaged with his humorous and irreverent style.
How did you become involved with Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (TERM)? Where has your interest in this field led you?
I became involved in tissue engineering at the time that it first took hold in Europe from the US, at the start of the 1990’s. More than 20 years ago the community here was just starting to debate its implications and substance. I was working with a (then) tiny international community on guidance mechanisms (for tissue repair) using substrates and mechanical forces and this fitted in perfectly. My initial interest was in testing the idea that we could either implant materials which would control the production of better (less scar-like) repairs in the body or that with the right conditions we would be able to grow useful tissues in 3D bioreactors. Continue reading
In a world rife with pollution and overconsumption of fossil fuels, sustainability is an increasingly important topic in a variety of sectors, not the least of which is food science and agriculture. In his new book Handbook of Sustainability for the Food Sciences, Rubén O. Morawicki presents the concept of sustainability as it applies to the food supply chain “from farm to fork,” with a special emphasis on processing. In the following interview, Dr. Morawicki discusses how we damage the environment at various steps along the food supply chain, how we might fix these harmful processes, and how varied the definition of sustainability can be. Continue reading