Friday, 8 February 2013

Bright Lights and Dinosaurs

This year I embark on a rather fun adventure. The splendid folks at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have made me one of their Science in Society Fellows. My fellowship proposal was entitled 'Bright Lights and Dinosaurs' and will high-light the work that my team and I undertake at some of the brightest light sources on the planet, such at the STFC's Diamond Synchrotron (near Oxford).

I find myself tonight at the very same STFC facility writing these we are currently exploring some new techniques to extract chemical information from the fossil remains. These wonderful beasties that saw fit to survive the slings and arrows of becoming immortalised in stone (aka, fossils).

Over the next two years I will be developing several outreach projects to help demonstrate to those who are choosing their GCSE's or wading through A-levels, that the wonderful world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics has a vital role to play in all walks of life...even extinct life! Through the scanning of dinosaur bones to the unpicking of belemnite biology and even the teasing of virtual muscle groups in high-performance computers, I hope to show how advances in science are breathing new life into ancient bones and beasties...but at the same time, show that science is splendidly exciting. So, if you know of a school that wants or needs an injection of prehistoric fun into physics or even a morphometric meddling with mososaurs, why not contact me at the University of Manchester, and I will do my best to visit your school and help you explore the wonderful world of Bright Lights and Dinosaurs.

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