On Tuesday 1st September the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Mrs Sarah Goad JP, took part in an innovative science and art project to launch the involvement of the UK’s national synchrotron facility, Diamond Light Source, in the British Science Festival, which opens in Surrey this weekend.
On Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th September, from 10am to 4pm, staff from Diamond will be at Guildford’s Holy Trinity Church on the city’s High Street with the World’s largest diffraction pattern. This innovative textile project brings science and art together to provide a platform for Diamond scientists to explain to the public in an engaging and imaginative way how they are using the synchrotron’s intense beams of light (10 billion times brighter than the sun) to achieve world leading breakthroughs in research. Members of the public will be invited to take part and add a stitch. Visitors will also find fun hands-on activities and computer simulations which help to explain how the Diamond synchrotron works, the exciting science that takes place at the facility, and why it is so important.
The Lord Lieutenant of Surrey enjoyed taking part in the diffraction project and adding a silver stitch.
"I am delighted that the British Science Festival has come to Surrey this year. It looks as though the county is in for a real treat with so many entertaining and intriguing science-based activities taking place throughout the city of Guildford and the University of Surrey. Adding a stitch to the World’s largest diffraction pattern is just one of the many ways festival goers will be able to learn about Diamond and science in general. I thoroughly recommend that the residents of Surrey take this wonderful opportunity to visit the festival and find out more about the fascinating science happening throughout the UK."
Mrs Sarah Goad JP, the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey
CEO of Diamond, Prof. Gerd Materlik, believes it is important to find new and interesting ways to communicate science, such as the diffraction pattern project, he says, “So far this initiative has been a fantastic success and reflects Diamond’s commitment to giving members of the public an opportunity to appreciate the wide range of science taking place at the facility. Over the next decades, Diamond will play a vital role to engage people of all ages in the exciting contribution science is making to society and will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. It is projects like the World’s largest diffraction pattern that help us to reach out to more people and widen access to science.”
Diamond is a large scientific research facility based in south Oxfordshire, dedicated to producing extremely intense X-rays (10 billion times brighter than the sun) to further discovery in virtually all fields of science; from drug discovery, to sustainable energy, to climate change. With the aim of widening access to science, Diamond is on a mission to create the World’s largest diffraction pattern. Already over 5,000 people, from Oxford, Paris and as far as Chicago, have contributed to the pattern, including the Minister for Science and Innovation, Lord Drayson, and the British Ambassador in Paris, Sir Peter Westmacott.
Diffraction patterns are obtained by scientists and are of great interest to biomedical researchers in particular as the patterns lead to a 3-D representation of the structure of a specific biological target, which can be used to help design cures for specific diseases. The diffraction pattern being created in the art and craft piece is based on a target called Serine Racemase, which is an important target in the fight against pain and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists from the pioneering Oxfordshire-based biopharmaceutical company Evotec have solved the structure of Serine Racemase by using data collected at Diamond; it is one of the first ever data sets collected for this specific biological target. Evotec undertakes regular research at Diamond and is kindly supporting this initiative.
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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