The Bartlett School of Planning


Nature Inspired Urbanism Series: What is Nature in Biomimetic Strategies?

18 January 2017, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

Nature Inspired Urbanism

Event Information

Open to







Stephen Marshall
020 3108 9558


Peter Hall Room G01 Central House 14 Upper Woburn Place London WC1H 0NN


Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent

‘What is nature in biomimetic strategies ?

Gecko’s feet, lotus leaves, blue butterfly wings, spider’s silk, fireflies, mother-of-pearl…. All these “wonders of nature”, serve as models to design and engineer optimal material structures. This renewed interest in natural systems has undoubtedly brought about innovating strategies in materials science and robotics as well as in architecture.

What exactly does mimicking nature mean? What role is ascribed to nature in mimicking strategies? Three different roles will be distinguished: inspiration, hybridization, integration. As each of them implies a specific view of nature it also implies a different engagement with the public.

Benadette Bensaude-Vincent is a philosopher and historian of science, professor at Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. Her research topics span from the history and philosophy of chemistry to materials science and nanotechnology with a continuous interest in science and the public issues. Among her recent publications:

The Artificial and the Natural. An Ever-Evolving Polarity (William Newmann coll.), Cambridge MA, MIT Press, 2007.

The Public Image of Chemistry, (J. Schummer, B. Van Tiggelen coll.) World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd, 2007

Chemistry. The Impure Science, (coll. Jonathan Simon) London, Imperial College Press, 2008. 2nd edition 2012