Diamond shines a light on dinosaurs at Cheltenham Science Festival

Young visitors learning about our 3D visualisation
Young visitors learning about our 3D visualisation
Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron science facility, is taking a prominent role in this year’s Cheltenham Science Festival, which takes place from the 2nd – 7th June. The annual festival is a celebration of how the world works and how science helps us to understand it.
 
Oxfordshire-based Diamond is a silver ring-shaped science facility that functions like a giant microscope, allowing over 3000 scientists each year to study elements of matter that could not be seen with a standard microscope, like individual atoms and molecules. It does this by speeding up electrons to near light speeds to produce a light 10 billion times brighter than the sun. Diamond supports advancement in all areas of science, from aerospace to vaccine design, renewable energy to electronics.
 
Laura Holland, Public Engagement Manager at Diamond, comments: “The Cheltenham Science Festival is a celebration of the work done by scientists around the world. As Diamond is involved in such incredible discoveries, the festival is a great opportunity for members of the public to find out more about the work done at the facility, with our interactive zones showcasing cutting-edge science in a fun and exciting way”
Something that we once thought exhausted in research terms has now returned from the dead and taken on a whole new life
Something that we once thought exhausted in research terms has now returned from the dead and taken on a whole new life
 
Some of the activities Diamond will be involved in at the festival include: 
 
  • The Dinozone – Diamond is teaming up with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Manchester University in the Dinozone, a free interactive area where the public will be able to touch a 7.4 metre long skeleton of a Gorgosaurus and the skull of a Triceratops. Visitors can learn why Diamond’s powerful X-rays are so useful when trying to uncover the past, and can also find out what dinosaurs have to do with extra-terrestrial activity. There will also be a Science Trail, taking visitors up close to prehistoric creatures and enabling them to learn fascinating facts about dinosaurs.
     
  • The Discover Zone – Diamond will demonstrate how synchrotrons work by creating a Lego beamline laboratory. The exhibit will showcase the variety of work done at the facility and explain the role synchrotrons play in helping scientists make discoveries about the future.

 

Watching the Lego beamline in action
Watching the Lego beamline in action
  • University of Warwick Ideas Café – Diamond are teaming up with the University of Warwick for a discussion on ‘What if...the future were as clear as crystallography ?’. Crystallography is one of the techniques used by scientists at Diamond; it uses the unique pattern of diffraction made when light passes through a crystallised substance to determine the atomic or molecular structure. Father and son team William and Lawrence Bragg won a Nobel Prize for creating an equation that cleared up the mysteries of crystals.  Their work has allowed us to peer into crystal structures using X-ray diffraction, from rock salt to DNA, from diamond to vitamin B.  The public are invited to join in with a panel discussion about what the next century will hold for crystallography.
  
The Cheltenham Science festival is taking place from 2nd-7th June. For more information and booking visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/science