Civil engineering “that will change the world”



“Millions of years ago some bacteria tried to reach for the sun and they made it.”

These are the opening lines of a fascinating journey Senior Researcher Dr. Dimitrios Terzis at the Laloui Group takes us on in a TEDx talk he recently presented in Geneva. Dr. Terzis tells the story of how bacteria evolved to generate energy from sunlight and the mineral structures they built to reach that light and how we as humans can mimic these natural processes.

As a civil engineer, he recognizes that engineering and construction have evolved little beyond the post-war construction boom of the 1950s, but he believes we are on the cusp of a revolution that will “change the world”. Following in the footsteps of the development of efficient solar panels for the fledging satellite industry 63 years ago, Terzis believes technologies that mimic nature and can provide modern building materials and engineering solutions are about to enter mainstream use which, like the solar panel before it, will see costs plummet democratizing the product and allow all to benefit.

But Terzis believes this is only the beginning “The next step in space exploration is using bacteria as builders which weigh a few milligrams, breath CO2 and produce minerals hydrogels and cement rocks, that doesn't sound that distant right?”

Learn more about this intriguing topic by visiting Dr. Terzis’ full TEDx talk here