As part of this weekend's activities at the Grand Palais, Sir Peter Westmacott launched at the British Embassy a brand new science and art project, called the World's largest diffraction pattern, by contributing a silver stitch to what will become the world's largest diffraction pattern. The project, which will involve over 5000 people adding their stitches, has been created to provide a platform for scientists from Diamond Light Source in the UK to explain their research to the public in an engaging and imaginative way.
Diffraction patterns are obtained by biomedical researchers during their experiments at Diamond, and lead to a 3-D representation of the structure of a specific biological target which can be used to help find cures for specific diseases. Diamond is a scientific institute based in South Oxfordshire in the UK. It produces synchrotron light - highly brilliant beams of X-rays, Ultra-Violet and Infra-Red - which is used by researchers from virtually all fields of science.
This weekend in Paris, attendees at the European City of Science event, which takes place at the Grand Palais, will be able to follow the British Ambassador's lead and place their own stitch in the World's largest diffraction pattern. Diamond will be exhibiting at Stand N0.12, along with three other European Light Sources (Soleil, the ESRF and Elettra). Light sources in Europe produce on average 10,000 scientific papers every year and support a growing user community of about 17, 000 academic and industrial users. Scientific research undertaken by these facilities makes a substantial contribution to solving environmental contamination, improve health and well-being and generate knowledge vital to the development of our economies.
The diffraction pattern being created in the art piece is that of a target called Serine Racemase, which is an important target in the fight against pain and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimers disease. It is one of the first ever collected for this specific biological target and the research was carried out by scientists from the pioneering biopharmaceutical company, Evotec. The company undertakes regular research at Diamond and is supporting this science and art initiative.
Sir Peter Westmacott comments, "Communicating science to the general public is essential to inspire and inform them of its impact and achievements. Diamond Light Source, the UK synchrotron, has a track record of successful outreach and engagement projects with the public. I am pleased that they are launching this exciting new project to the public as part of the European City of Science celebrations. The UK has been, and remains, a catalyst for science and innovation. We are proud to present new ways to showcase the excitement and practical applications that science brings to society."
"It is wonderful to be able to bring science and art together in this way and I am looking forward to gathering stitches from lots of different people here in Paris at le grand Palais and, with the help of Diamond scientists, teach them more about the science behind the art. Over the next decades, Diamond along with the French Synchrotron Soleil in Saclay, will play a vital role in engaging the young and the old in the exciting contribution science is making to society and will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers."
Anne Griffiths, textile artists
For more information about the project or if members of the public would like to take part, please visit Diamond.ac.uk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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Notes to Editors
As part of the Paris European City of Science event, Four light sources across Europe will be exhibiting together at the Grand Palais Stand N0.12 - at the European City of Science event from 14th-16th November, (www.grandpalais.fr/visite/en/).(www.villeeuropeennedessciences.fr)
For more information on the participating light sources, please visit
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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