Two Air Force Office of Scientific Research-funded scientists have been honored recently for their breakthrough research in self-healing plastics. Scientific American recognized Scott White and Nancy Sottos, both professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in the magazine’s 2007 “SciAm 50” awards list that cites outstanding technological leadership. NASA also featured their research in its top seven technologies for 2007. White and Sottos have demonstrated a new synthetic material inspired by human skin and plant leaves. It continually repairs itself using a three-dimensional microvascular network that supplies a liquid healing agent to damaged areas. This basic research shows promise for a new class of robust composite materials that could one day be used in aerospace vehicles and weapon systems. (AFOSR report by Molly Lachance)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.