Showcasing Diamond’s science and public engagement on a global stage

 

The annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society, provides researchers from across the globe with an exciting platform to share their latest results and thinking with a range of audiences. Around 7,000 people from 60 countries attend the meeting, which this year took place in Washington DC from the 11th – 15th February. Delegates range from interested members of the public, researchers from across the globe working in all areas of science, journalists, policy makers, funders and other important stakeholders.

   
This year, Diamond was successful in securing a scientific symposium entitled ‘Cleaner Energy Solutions: What can 21st century large-scale physics deliver?’ and a career workshop on ‘Engaging public groups in your research.’  
 
Isabelle Boscaro-Clarke, Diamond’s Head of Communications, comments, “The AAAS meeting attracts a variety of audiences and we always value the opportunity to highlight some of the latest synchrotron science during this popular event. This year, we were showcasing nuclear waste containment experiments taking place on our new long duration experiment (LDE) facility, which is on our powder diffraction beamline (I11) and is the only one of its kind in the world. This research achieved excellent media coverage via BBC online, the Guardian, the Observer, and a range of general science and nuclear energy related publications. We were also delighted to be able to work alongside STFC and the other research councils to promote UK science and technology on the Research Councils UK stand and at their special AAAS International Reception.”
 
Richard Black, from the UK’s Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, chaired Diamond’s energy session and the speakers were Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (Understanding and Controlling Materials’ Properties for Energy Research), Joanne Flanagan, Culham Center for Fusion Energy (Fusion Power: Within Our Grasp?) and Claire Corkhill, University of Sheffield  (Nuclear Power: Digging Deep and Aiming High). The session prompted lively discussions around the technological challenges faced by researchers working on alternative energy sources and how they can be overcome. 
 
The career workshop gave three perspectives on public engagement.  John Womersley, chief executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, gave the funders view on how valuable public engagement work is and how funding agencies go about promoting big discoveries such as the Higgs Boson. Laura Holland, Diamond’s public engagement manager, outlined the range of training and hands on experience that a facility like Diamond can offer to researchers who carry out experiments at the synchrotron. Finally Phil Manning, from the University of Manchester (UK) and the College of Charleston (US), spoke about how important it is to encourage your whole group to participate in public engagement activities and suggested that evaluating the impact on the researchers is just as important as evaluating the impact on the public audiences. The career workshop speakers presented imaginative ways to draw the general public into two way communication about scientific research. This session sparked debate around how group leaders can encourage all group members to participate in some form of public engagement, which covers a wide range of activities including face to face interactions, social media and online engagement, articles for newsletters and websites, and participation in science shows for radio and TV.
 
Whilst at the AAAS, the Diamond team also participated in the Research Councils UK Exhibit Hall stand, inviting visitors to have fun by racing the clock to build a vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). They learnt how Diamond helped scientists from Oxford, Reading and the Pirbright Institute to develop a new methodology to produce a vaccine for FMDV. Because the vaccine is all synthetic, made up of tiny protein shells designed to trigger optimum immune response, it doesn’t rely on growing live infectious virus and is therefore much safer to produce.
 
UK researchers at the AAAS were also invited to give 10 minute talks on their research on the Research Councils UK stand. Following Diamond’s main sessions, speakers Claire Corkhill, from the University of Sheffield, and Phil Manning, from the University of Manchester, both gave lively talks on their synchrotron studies. Claire explained how Diamond’s long duration experiment (LDE) facility on the powder diffraction beamline (I11) is helping to advance research intro nuclear waste containment and Phil explained how synchrotrons in the UK and US are helping us to gain a better understanding of the lives of dinosaurs that roamed the earth millions of years ago.
 
 
All the media coverage:
 
Long-term cement study seeks nuclear waste solution
UK scientists say they have produced a new mix of cement that should be much more effective at containing nuclear waste in a deep repository.
 
Diamond introduces long-duration study lab
The Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire now has a long-duration experiment facility. It allows scientists to study the behaviour of materials over a two-year period. Prof Trevor Rayment is Diamond's director of physical sciences. He explained to our correspondent Jonathan Amos how the new facility works
 
Britain leads race to make nuclear waste safe for 100,000 years
British scientists are designing a revolutionary cement that could withstand the impact of intense radiation for thousands of years. The project could prove vital in dealing with the challenges of Britain’s proposed expansion of its nuclear industry.
 
Observer [print edition]
British Scientists lead race to make N-waste safe ‘for 100,000 years’
 
Britain leads race to make nuclear waste safe for 100,000 years
 
British scientists designing cement to safely store nuclear waste for 100,000 years
A team of British scientists are working on designing a form of cement which could safely withstand the harmful effects of nuclear waste for thousands of years. The team at the UK's synchrotron science facility, Diamond Light Source, said the project will be vital as Britain looks to expand on its nuclear industry.
 
A University of Sheffield researcher is using the Diamond Light Source for a long term study into the performance of nuclear waste containment materials.
Dr Claire Corkhill from the University of Sheffield is using the Diamond Light Source's Long-Duration Experiment (LDE) facility to study the way that cement - an important material used in the storage and disposal of radioactive waste - reacts with water as it becomes hydrated over a period of hundreds of years.
 
Exploiting high speed light for super slow science
Scientists at the world's premier science conference - the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting - will this year be discussing the advances enabled by the UK's pioneering Long-Duration Experiment facility (LDE). Unmatched anywhere in the world, the LDE allows scientists to closely study the atomic and molecular behaviour of matter under different conditions and over a period of two years.
 
UK Science Leads the Way in Nuclear Research
The UK's synchrotron science facility, Diamond Light Source, is a hub for renewable energy and energy recycling research, but less well known are its applications as a hub for nuclear research. Work in this area is transforming our energy future by making the nuclear fuel cycle safer, more efficient and more straightforward to use.
 
UK scientists present 'groundbreaking' radwaste research
Scientists using the UK's synchrotron science facility - Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire, England - have presented their research into radioactive waste containment at the world's largest science conference - the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting, held on 11-15 February in Washington DC. In a statement yesterday, Diamond Light Source Ltd said this work may help to inform the UK's policy on radioactive waste disposal.
 
AAAS Annual Meeting: Scientists to Present Research on Radioactive Waste Containment
The UK’s synchrotron science facility, Diamond Light Source, is a hub for renewable energy and energy recycling research, but less well known are its applications as a hub for nuclear research. Work in this area is transforming our energy future by making the nuclear fuel cycle safer, more efficient and more straightforward to use.
 
UK science leads the way in nuclear research
The UK's synchrotron science facility, Diamond Light Source, is a hub for renewable energy and energy recycling research, but less well known are its applications as a hub for nuclear research.
 
 
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