12 July 2010

Aquarium to host biomimicry workshop

Ingrid Sinclair
Photograph by Geoff Spiby

Bio-what? You’ll find out what “biomimicry” means if you attend an Aquarium workshop on 27 and 28 July for a day-and-a-half lowdown on this scientific term and growing discipline, which explores what we can learn from nature, as opposed to just about it.

Biomimicry seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s time-tested design ideas. It is about valuing biodiversity and inspiring innovation by learning problem-solving methods from nature and the creatures that inhabit it. It is about rediscovering the genius of nature and utilising this genius to make our modern lives more efficient and less damaging to the environment in which we exist.

One of the earliest examples of biomimicry is probably Leonardo da Vinci’s design for a flying machine. Da Vinci observed birds very closely, as did the Wright brothers, who went on to create the first aeroplane a few short centuries later. Biomimicry has become increasingly prominent since then.

Take Sharklet, an antimicrobial plaster or surface coating that inhibits bacterial growth. The plaster’s surface is comprised of “millions of tiny diamonds arranged in a distinct pattern that mimics the microbe-resistant properties of shark skin”. Our raggies certainly approve!

Biomimicry South Africa and the Two Oceans Aquarium are joining forces to bring biomimicry to the Aquarium. The introductory workshop will be led by certified biomimicry professional Claire Janisch and will explore key themes including “What is Biomimicry?”, “Why Biomimicry?” and “What are life’s inherently sustainable design principles?”

Anyone interested in the field of biomomicry – whether designers, architects, engineers, city planners, local government officials, biologists, ecologists, geographers, students, teachers or lecturers – or in nature and innovation, the environment and education, or in simply seeing the creatures in the Aquarium from a new perspective, are invited to attend.

The workshop runs on Tuesday, 27 July, from 12h30 to 16h30 and Wednesday, 28 July, from 08h30 to 16h30. It costs R850 per person, which includes tuition, tea and coffee, lunch and entry into the Aquarium for both days.

Student and NGO discounts are available, and a letter of motivation is required in this regard.

For booking and payment details, please contact Claire Janisch on 076 578 6574 or claire@biomimicry.net. The closing date for all entries and payments is Friday, 16 July.

Check out the TED video below: “Biomimicry in Action” by Janine Benyus. Benyus, an American scientist and writer, is considered a pioneer in the field and she has published a number of books on the topic, including the most recent, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.

blog comments powered by Disqus