Oxford Scientific Society - Hilary Term 2010

Inventing Chemistry and Writing Textbooks

Professor Stuart Warren, Cambridge University - First Week - 21st January 2010

Professor Stuart Warren works in the Department of Chemistry at University of Cambridge. He completed his PhD at Cambridge in 1963 after which he spent a year as Research Fellow at Harvard University with Professor Frank Westhemier. He worked on new synthetic methods, particularly those involving phosphorus or sulphur, rearrangements and asymmetric synthesis. He is also well known for authoring numerous organic chemistry textbooks, including the widely used Organic Chemistry (OUP 2001) co-authored with J. Clayden, N. Greeves, and P. Wothers; Organic Synthesis: the Disconnection Approach (Wiley 2007) and Organic Synthesis: Strategy and Control (Wiley 2008) co-authored with P. Wyatt.

Adapted from: http://www.ch.cam.ac.uk/staff/sgw.html

What are we really looking for at the Large Hadron Collider?

Professor Amanda Cooper-Sarkar, Oxford University - Second Week - 26th January 2010

Amanda Cooper-Sarkar is a Professor of Particle Physics at Oxford University and Vice Principal at St Hilda's College. She has done research in several of the world's major international laboratories as an internationally recognised expert in the deep structure of the proton and a member of the advisory board for Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. She has been awarded the 2009 Institute of Physics Nuclear and Particle Physics Division for her substantial contributions to our detailed understanding of the proton through the HERA Deep Inelastic Scattering experimental programme and in particular her work on combining data in ways that improve on individual experiments and allow experiment-specific uncertainties to be removed.

Adapted from: http://www.st-hildas.ox.ac.uk/index.php/fellowsandlecturers/acoopers.html

Joint observation session with OUSAS (Oxford University Space and Astronomical Society)

Meet outside Mansfield College - Third Week - 4th February 2010

Meet at 8:30pm outside Mansfield College and we will head down to Port Meadow to observe the night sky! We will be using the telescope and binoculars provided by OUSAS and listen to a talk on amateur astronomy. Keep in mind that the weather will be very cold and remember to wrap up really warm by putting on lots of layers, gloves, hat and warm shoes!

Plastic Electronics: Carbon-based semiconductors—new science, new engineering and new applications

Professor Sir Richard Friend, University of Cambridge - Fourth Week - 10th February 2010

Sir Richard Friend is Cavendish Professor at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of St John's College with a world-renowned reputation for his research into the physics and engineering of carbon-based semiconductors. His work has been applied to development of polymer field effect transistors, light-emitting diodes, photovoltaic diodes, optically pumped lasing and directly printed polymer transistors. He pioneered study of organic polymers and revolutionised the understanding of the electronic properties of molecular semiconductors. He is also one of the Principal Investigators in the new Cambridge-based Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC) on nanotechnology and co-founder of Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) and Plastic Logic. He has over 600 publications and more than 20 patents. He was also the 81st recipient of the IEE's Faraday Medal.

Adapted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Friend

The Psychology of Anomalous Experiences

Professor Christopher French, Goldsmiths, University of London - Fifth Week - 17th February 2010

Professor Chris French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He has published over 100 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics within psychology. His main current area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims. He is the editor of The Skeptic and writes a regular column for the Guardian's online science pages.

Adapted from: http://www.gold.ac.uk/psychology/staff/french/

The Magic of Computer Science: Are You Watching Closely?

Professor Peter McOwan, Queen Mary, University of London - Sixth Week - 23rd February 2010

Peter McOwan is currently a Professor of Computer Science and Director of Outreach in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London. His research interests are in visual perception, mathematical models for visual processing, in particular motion, cognitive science and biologically inspired hardware and software. He is also active in science outreach through various projects. He was awarded a National Teaching Fellow in 2008 by the Higher Education Academy. His research was well received in 2009 at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.

Adapted from: http://www.dcs.qmul.ac.uk/~pmco/

Co-hosted with Oxford University Biochemical Society

Professor Sir Martin Evans (Cardiff University) - Seventh Week - 3rd March 2010

Professor Sir Martin Evans, with Mario R. Capecchi and Oliver Smithies, won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for developing gene targeting, a technology used to create animal models of human diseases in mice. He and his colleagues demonstrated that these cells which became known as "Embryonic Stem Cells" (ES cells) were able to be used to fully regenerate fertile breeding mice from the tissue culture cells and that these could therefore carry mutations introduced and selected or screened for in culture. This is now the basis of all mouse knockout and targeted genetic manipulation. He studied at the University of Cambridge and completed his Ph.D. at University College, London. He was knighted in 2004. Besides the Nobel Prize, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1993 and is a founder Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He was awarded the prestigious Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research. In 2002 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, regarded as one of the world's foremost centres for medical and scientific training.

Adapted from: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/martinevans/biography/index.html

Fishing for clues: how zebrafish are making a big splash in biochemical research

Professor Vincent Cunliffe (University of Sheffield) - Eighth Week - 10th March 2010

Vincent Cunliffe completed his PhD in Zoology from University College and post-doctoral post in Seattle and at NIMR, London, investigating the transcriptional regulation and developmental function of the Brachyury transcription factor in Xenopus. In 1994 he was appointed to the post of Group Leader in Molecular and Cell Biology at the UK Biotechnology company Therexsys Ltd. In 1997 he was awarded a Lister Institute Research Fellowship to pursue independent research on the control of chromatin activity during vertebrate development at the University of Sheffield. Professor Cunliffe was appointed and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2007. His research on fluorescent zebra fish was well received in the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.

Adapted from: http://cdbg.shef.ac.uk/research/cunliffe/