Three young scientists from Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron on the Harwell Science & Innovation Campus have just taken part in the prestigious (Scientists, Engineers and Technologists) SET for Britain competitions and exhibitions held annually at the Houses of Parliament on 8th March 2010.
|Prof. Gerd Materlik, Dr Claire Pizzey and Ed Vaizey MP (Wantage) outside the Houses of Parliament during the SET for Britain event|
SET for Britain promotes and supports Britain’s early-stage and early-career research scientists, engineers and technologists. Selection to appear at SET is recognition that the individual is acknowledged as one of Britain’s future scientific and technological leaders. The poster exhibition, traditionally held in the House of Commons Terrace Marquee, gives the researchers the opportunity to present their work to Members of both Houses and to initiate a dialogue with them.
The three Diamond scientists who successfully applied and were selected to showcase their research in posters to Members of both Houses of Parliament and the British science community were senior support scientists; Dr Julia Parker and Dr Jen Hiller along with Dr Claire Pizzey, industrial liaison scientist. Their three posters illustrated the diversity of the research carried out at Diamond.
Dr Hiller’s poster showed how she has worked with the nearby Central Laser Facility to create a pair of optical ‘tweezers’, using two laser beams that trap tiny particles, rotate them in three dimensions and apply very small amounts of force. The work involves using the synchrotron light to provide the UK user community with a world-leading facility for bionanoscience, with future applications including the ability to study intact eye lenses which could be deformed and the collagen structure observed in real time.
Dr Parker’s poster explained why Mussels are a favourite with Diamond’s scientists. Creatures from the natural world, such as mussels, produce some of the most complex materials that rival the most advanced engineering materials made by man.
“Understanding the design, synthesis and transformation of mussel shell can help us to come up with new biomedical framework materials (for instance to encourage bone regeneration) as well as stronger composites for other engineering and domestic applications.”
Dr Julia Parker
Finally Dr Pizzey shone a light on new solar cell materials. The next generation of environmentally friendly solar cells are based on novel blends of semiconducting polymers which are able to transform sunlight into power. Dr Pizzey and her colleagues are developing a new technique for understanding how such materials can be optimised to develop low cost, energy efficient devices. She hopes that these materials will make significant advances toward using the sun’s energy as a real alternative to existing oil or coal based power sources.
Gerd Materlik, Chief Executive of Diamond congratulated Drs Hiller, Parker and Pizzey.
“These innovative and inventive young scientists are highly committed to spreading the scientific word. We are very proud that they are science ambassadors and speakers for both Diamond and UK Science appearing regularly at both local and global events.” Dr Hiller added, “We all see engaging with the public as well as our peers as an integral part of our work. It gives you a different perspective and it is part of our responsibility as practicing scientists to give back to society”.
Gerd Materlik, CEO
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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