Chemical engineer develops sanitary towels to help girls stay in school (Day 335)

Here in the UK and other developed countries, it’s all too easy to take some things for granted, such as access to education, to clean water and to sanitary facilities.

When we look at the developing world, it can be difficult to comprehend the challenges people face on a daily basis.

Photo Credit | Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com
Photo Credit | Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com

In Ethiopia, as many as 18 million young girls and women have no access to sanitary towels. This forces many young girls to drop out of school. But the good news is that one chemical engineer is trying to change that.

For most girls, their first menstrual cycle is awkward and embarrassing, but seen as a natural transition towards womanhood. However, in Ethiopia it can be an incredibly taboo subject. As a consequence, misinformation, negative beliefs and myths hold sway.

In the rural Tigray region of Ethiopia, where chemical engineer Freweini Mebrahtu grew up, young girls found out about their menstrual cycle through overheard rumour and myth; often leaving them shocked, confused and afraid.

Continue reading Chemical engineer develops sanitary towels to help girls stay in school (Day 335)

Even chemical engineers can pamper (Day 198)

EyesIn some countries, chemical engineers don’t receive the respect they deserve.

Our contribution is hidden from the public as companies don’t want people to think about the ‘chemicals’ in their products.

I discussed the perception that anything natural is good and anything man-made is bad in my blog ‘Can you lead a chemical-free life?’, which demonstrates that this is not the case.

The US gets a lot of bad press about the public perceptions of science and engineering, but one thing they are getting right is the respect that seems to be increasing for chemical engineers working in the cosmetics industry.

An excellent example of this is the company Living Proof, set up by a team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), including chemical engineering Professor Robert Langer, which initially focused on hair products.

The company has such a strong technological reputation that actress Jennifer Aniston (who I am told is famous for her hair?!) was not only was willing to advertise their products but also invested in the company as a co-owner.

Photo Credit | Living Proof Dr Betty Yu
Photo Credit | Living Proof
Dr Betty Yu

Living Proof is now launching its first skin product – Neotensil – spearhead by another MIT chemical engineering alumnus Dr Betty Yu.

Neotensil uses polymer technology to compress and flatten eye bags.

Continue reading Even chemical engineers can pamper (Day 198)

It’s a sell out (Day 72)

C0145_13-slider-CEMThe first edition of IChemE’s technical strategy, Chemical Engineering Matters, was a sell out. There are no more copies left.

So I’m pleased to announce that a second edition has been published and you can find the new version of Chemical Engineering Matters here.

The simple statement that is ‘chemical engineering matters’ is not a cliché. It is the truth.

Continue reading It’s a sell out (Day 72)