Prof Coppens attends the second International panel meeting on Mesoscience

27 September 2019

On the 22nd-24th September, Marc-Olivier Coppens, the Director of CNIE attended the 2nd international panel meeting on Mesosciences in Beijing, China. Under the leadership of Professor Jinghai Li (Institute for Process Engineering, IPE, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and President of the National Science Foundation of China, NSFC), the Mesoscience programme aims to tackle challenging problems for which traditional bottom-up and top-down approaches do not suffice. Many complex problems in nature and engineering require optimisation of multiple simultaneous objectives under constraints. Mesoscience posits that such solutions result from interactions between different elements at the microscale in a system under constraints at the macroscale. The system evolves dynamically from a compromise between competing factors.

On the first day, different perspectives on mesoscience and research methodology from the panellists across a variety of fields, from chemical engineering to neuroscience were brought to attention as well as presentations on the state-of-the-art by IPE members. The following day of the meeting included animated discussions on avenues to describe a general methodology for mesoscience, which would make this exciting approach increasingly accessible to scientists and engineers globally. A list of examples of problems to could be treated by mesoscience was discussed as well.

Prof. Coppens discussed Nature-Inspired Solutions for Engineering (NISE), as a systematic methodology for transformative technology developed in the CNIE at UCL. This methodology is grounded in fundamentals and is cognisant of the context of engineering applications, to tackle complex problems in engineering, inspired by natural systems. The NISE approach is complementary to the mesoscience approach and may benefit from developments in mesoscience as a framework to describe emergent phenomena in complex systems. The workings of the lung and of lung-inspired fuel cells, as developed in the CNIE, were chosen by the panel as striking examples of multi-objective optimisation under constraints to reach efficiency, robustness and scalability, both in nature and engineering, which could be treated as a mesoscience problem.

It is clear that there are exciting opportunities for collaboration between the Mesoscience programme and the CNIE, and opportunities for collaboration were discussed. For more information regarding the IPM and its members, visit the IPM website.

Prof Coppens attends the second International panel meeting on Mesoscience