Published: Aug. 29, 2019
Carson Bruns poses with paintings he created

A creator of color-changing tattoo inks and shape-shifting molecular machines, chemist/artist Carson Bruns uses nanoscience to invent new materials and technologies. He has co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed scientific publications, including the celebrated book The Nature of the Mechanical Bond: From Molecules to Machines, with Nobel Laureate J. Fraser Stoddart. Dr. Bruns is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering with the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he directs the Emergent Nanomaterials Lab. His groundbreaking work on biomedical tattoos for human health has been featured in his popular TEDx talk, as well as in Inked Magazine, Chemical and Engineering News, and Colorado Public Radio.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I was adopted!

One thing you’re willing to spend way too much on . . .

Tattoos. My favorite tattoo is this big, colorful flowering tree of life that covers my whole stomach and chest. It must have taken more than 40 painful hours to complete, but I love it because it reminds me every day that all life is beautiful and all life is connected. 

Who would you most like to meet and why?

Jim Carey. I think he is such a talented and dedicated artist. I've looked up to him since I was a kid.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

"Try not to take yourself too seriously."

What do you most like to do to unwind?

I like to paint animals in a kind of fauvist/divisionist style.