When you think about the English computer scientist Alan Turing you most probably think of either his code-breaking efforts at Bletchley Park during World War II or his early hypotheses about artificial intelligence, which resulted in the formulation of the famous Turing Test.
Something you probably don’t associate him with? Groundbreaking chemistry — and, more specifically, groundbreaking chemistry which could soon be used to provide people around the world with a more efficient way of obtaining drinkable freshwater. But that could soon change.
Turing only published one paper on this subject during his life, just two years before his untimely death in the early 1950s. In the paper, he described what have come to be known as “Turing structures,” an attempt to chemically explain naturally occurring patterns such as the spots on a leopard or the stripes on a zebra.
Jump forward to 2018, and researchers in China have now used Turing’s influential concept as the basis for work providing more efficient desalination, referring to the process by which salt is removed from saltwater to make it safely drinkable. “We successfully developed a facile route based on interfacial polymerization to generate polyamide membranes with Turing structures,” Lin Zhang, […]