Science is the star

Fri, 12 Aug 2011 13:15:00 BST

Science is the star

Huddersfield experts contribute to a packed festival of discovery

UNIVERSITY of Huddersfield scientists have a prestigious platform to present their research when they take part in the British Science Festival, held this year in Bradford from the 10th to the 15th of September.

Prof. Bob Cywinski

Dr Laura Waters

Professor Bob Cywinski, who is Dean of Applied Sciences, will take part in a session organised by the Thorium Energy Amplifier Association (ThorEA). He is a leading advocate of the use of thorium as a safer and more affordable nuclear energy source than uranium or plutonium and is the Chairman of ThorEA.

This event, entitled ‘Towards an Alternative Nuclear Future’, takes place at the University of Bradford on Wednesday 14 September (3.30pm). Earlier that day (12 noon), University of Huddersfield lecturer Dr Laura Waters will argue that scientific breakthroughs mean it may no longer be necessary to test drugs on live animals.

On Sunday 11 September (2pm), the University of Huddersfield’s Arms and Armour Research Group, in tandem with the Battlefield Trust, is presenting a session on the archaeology of battlefields, showing how modern methods and technology such as GPS can unearth the secrets of past conflicts.

Dr Waters has received a Charles Darwin Award from the British Science Association, which organises the British Science Festival, where her lecture is one of the key events in a packed week entitled ‘Exploring New Worlds’.

“I feel quite passionate that it’s not good enough just to do the science – you must also be able to explain it to other people,” says Dr Waters, who has lectured and researched in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Huddersfield for eight years.

But she acknowledges that to persuade the public to adopt new drugs that have not been tested on animals will be a big challenge.

“It’s a very controversial topic,” she says. “But if animal testing told us all the answers, then we would never have drugs taken off the market”.

One alternative is to develop computer simulations which can show the effects of drugs on the human body.  And other techniques being researched by Dr Waters and her students include the development of a plastic membrane which replicates the human skin.

In addition to top scientists, the British Science Festival includes guest speakers who include explorer Ranulph Fiennes and round-the-world sailor Ellen MacArthur. Popular TV science show ‘Bang Goes the Theory’ will also be broadcast live from the event.


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