Dye chemist explains light and molecules – University of Copenhagen

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18 November 2015

Dye chemist explains light and molecules

Video lecture

A proverb has it that “When the candles are out, all cats are grey”. As banal as this may sound, the saying is surprisingly close to the actual scientific explanation for how colour works. Simply put, dyes have no colour unless they are activated by light. Thomas Just Sørensen is a chemist. At the University of Copenhagen he develops dyes capable of some astounding and astoundingly useful tricks of the light.

Colours illuminate processes of life

Colorants are useful for so much more than just giving pretty hues to houses, frocks and food. Advanced dyes enable our researchers to investigate in detail the biological processes responsible for our sickness and health. Exploring how cells, proteins and enzymes interact is the very foundation of modern drugs and advanced medical treatments that actually work.

Lecture on dyes and how they work

So far the limits of our insight into biology have been drawn at the limits of functionality for advanced dyes. In this lecture Sørensen explains how he is developing colorants that might open doors to new knowledge about how our bodies function at the molecular scale whether hale or ill.