For myself the learning around the NanoDTC practical's operate in two ways - there is the 'oh now I understand the basics of nanotube growth' it's all about metallic substrates, interacting with gases, various pressures, temperature etc. Then there is the reflective or mirror effect - how the exposure to new ways of thinking informs my own practice. The conversations around the creation of material with qualities defined by a number of factors was informative, each ingredient delivers a number of practical possibilities which has made me think about the opportunity afforded by changing the structural possibilities within a material to effect different stresses and tensions at a 1:1 level. These ideas will in turn enable the objects I make to have certain parameters or physical abilities which I can then utilise. Girish Rughoobur ran the practical and brought his own research into the discussion, this mention of the creation of nanotubes for sensors was informative - so that's what they're for...... but also Girish explained that their quality/functionality was dependant on the density, size, number of walls, length, speed of growth.........and created within pentagons which with their non parallel sides enable little or no resonance feedback and so are useful/strong . Other shapes are not appropriate - the triangle has internal angles that are too acute and the circle at some scale has an element of it that is parallel. This information is another huge idea that I'm sure will find itself within new work at some point.
The practical's are also great fun - it's a pleasure to be putting myself in learning situations with such open intelligent interesting people, it's of not knowing. Ideas are firing around my head and connections between seemingly random issues are made. In my teaching capacity I find myself at the front, in theory leading and the expectation is of having answers but for me it's always about trying find opportunities to learn and develop collaborative ways of thinking even with my undergraduate students who have much to teach me.