Materials are the horizon of our physical experience. They can be touched and seen, but also heard, smelled and even tasted. Well-established materials (such as cement, steel and plastic) and more recently developed or even radically innovative ones (such as bioplastics, biomimetic prostheses, nanomaterials, graphene) share a need for raw materials and energy in order to be produced. For many decades the prevalent economic model has been based solely on the balance of cost and performance, thus ignoring the fact that resources are limited and gradually decreasing. The material future, then, needs to shun consumption and find ways to borrow. How can contemporary society foster such sustainable development?
Luca Beverina teaches Organic Chemistry at the Bicocca University in Milan and has coordinated many national and international research projects for the development of novel organic and hybrid materials.