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Michael Seo

Michael developed a nanomaterial to ensure everyone has access to safe drinking water. Do you have an idea to improve lives in the future?

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[Music plays and an image appears of Michael Seo holding up a sample of GraphAir and the camera zooms in on the sample and then out to show Michael talking again and text appears: Graphair, Nano-material, H-2-CCC-H-Y2-C-H]

Michael Seo: This is GraphAir, a nano-material that I’ve developed that hopefully if we are lucky this will allow everyone to drink their own sewerage.

[Laughter can be heard and the image changes to show a toilet flushing and then the water moving through various stages of sewerage, a bottle of water, and Michael laughing and text appears: My Digital Career, Michael Seo]

[Images move through of a view looking down on populated area, water flowing through rubbish piles, Michael Seo talking, a dry lakebed, a high-rise building, and a bushfire and text appears: Population growth, climate change]

Two billion people don’t have safe drinking water today and the rest of us are certain to run out of water soon because of population growth and climate change. 

[Image changes to show Michael talking to the camera]

If you want to survive in future we are going to have to recycle water or desalinate the oceans. 

[Camera zooms in on Michael’s face as he talks]

GraphAir can do both. 

[Image changes to show a model of the molecular structure of Graphair and text appears: Graphair, Graphene]

GraphAir is a kind of Graphene. 

[Image changes to show Michael talking to the camera and then the image changes to show three small coloured bottles of gases and then the image changes to show an explosion]

But to make Graphene you need these expensive and dangerous gases.

[Image changes to show Michael talking to the camera and then the image changes to show Michael looking at a laptop]

So, one day I wondered, can we use something else. 

[Image changes to show diagrams of molecular structures of different liquids on the computer screen and then the image changes to show Michael holding up a bottle of cooking oil and text appears: Cooking oil]

So, I did some research and I realised, hey you know what this looks like, cooking oil.

[Music plays and images flash through of Michael performing an experiment in the laboratory and then the image changes to show Michael talking to the camera]

So, I bought in some used cooking oil and it made Graphene. 

[Image changes to show Michael holding up a small sample sheet of Graphene to show a colleague and then the image changes to show Michael talking to the camera]

It worked. 

[Image changes to show Michael pouring liquid from a beaker to a test tube and then the image changes to show Michael holding up the sample of Graphair again]

But normal Graphene is waterproof and this isn’t.

[Images move through of liquid dripping from a tube, researchers looking at the liquid, and Michael talking and the honeycomb pattern with water dripping through appears in the foreground]

Our honeycombs let through the water but nothing else. 

[Images move through of the honeycomb pattern with the gap, Michael talking, and the honeycomb pattern with the gap and salt, lead, germs and poo particles unable to fit through the gap]

Water is smaller than this gap but salt, lead, germs and even poo are larger than the gap. So nothing can pass through except water.

[Image changes to show Michael talking to the camera and then images move through of sea water, water in large tanks and Michael talking again and text appears: Sea water, Recycled water, Sewerage]

This is huge, a huge change. This could let us drink sea water, recycled water, even sewerage, over and over, 

[Images move through of different types of water and text appears: Safe, Sustainable, Unlimited, Fresh water]

giving us safe, sustainable, unlimited, fresh water.

[Image changes to show Michael listening and text appears: Is your career a digital career?]

Male: Is your career a digital career?

[Image shows Michael talking to the camera and then the image changes to show Michael and a colleague working on an experiment]

Michael Seo: My career is not digital like computers. 

[Image changes to show Michael talking to the camera and then images move through of Michael working with colleagues in a lab and then the image changes to show Michael talking again]

I don’t use computers a lot. I spend most of my time talking, thinking crazy things and getting my hands dirty. 

[Images move through of Michael writing with his finger on a Smart board and then Michael talking with colleagues]

But I couldn’t do my job without technology either. 

[Images move through of Michael talking to the camera, Michael working with colleagues, Michael pointing to a Smart screen, and Michael talking into a microphone]

We use it for testing, for learning and communicating with other scientists. 

[Image changes to show Michael talking to the camera and then the image changes to show Michael working on a laptop]

So, I guess technology is like a glue. It connects all parts of my work.

[Images move through of various views of Michael talking and then the image changes to show Michael talking to the camera and holding up a bottle of cooking oil and smiling]

So, it is very important for my career but probably not as important as cooking oil.

[Music plays and the CSIRO logo and text appears: CSIRO digital careers, digitalcareers.csiro.au]

[Image changes and the CSIRO logo and text appears: CSIRO Australia’s innovation catalyst]

 

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