Everybody should have a friend who actually knows and can explain how and why things look and behave as they do in the physical world around us. Why is the sky blue? How does a thermostat work? Why does hot water do a better job of washing dishes than cold water? What are the signs that something’s about to break or fall down?
Viney is that type of friend. He specializes in explaining complex natural processes and the behavioral properties of materials in terms a lay audience can understand. He also has a keen eye for relating the physical world to everyday quality-of-life issues – past, present and future.
Why do atoms and molecules organize in certain ways? How can scientists use that knowledge to create new materials with desirable properties? What are the physical and societal issues to be considered in the rush to develop genetically modified foods, drugs and other products? Viney can explain the chemistry and, equally important, the impacts such advances have had and will continue to have on society as a whole.
Viney has studied, conducted research, published articles and lectured on a wide variety of biomolecular and physical-science/engineering topics throughout his 25-year academic career. He earned both his B.A. and his Ph. D. in materials science at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. Before joining the faculty at UC Merced, Viney was a professor of chemistry and head of chemistry at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland.