POSTPONED - The Black Sheep Pub
247 S. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania
“POSTPONED - From the Ends of the Earth to Your IPhone: The Hidden Costs of Your Technology”
We are surrounded by technology in modern life, by highly-engineered devices with enormous computing power and memory capacity. At the heart of such technologies are complex materials developed to exacting standards. As the requirements for these materials have become more demanding, the number of chemical elements present in technology has grown. Each smartphone now contains about 75 different chemical elements. But what are they? And where do they come from? In many cases, the mining and purifying of such essential elements is an expensive, labor-intensive, and environmentally devastating process. In this talk, we will examine the supply chains for various ‘critical’ metals and their impact in our daily lives. The environmental and ethical issues around obtaining critical metals will also be discussed. Ultimately, circular supply chains must be developed; we’ll also consider the prospects for such sustainable development.