Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2010
30 June 2010
A giant pelvis, a wooden hut covered in layers of paper and a CSI-style chemical investigation are some of the innovative methods Imperial academics are employing to explain their research to the public at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition this month.
Researchers from the Department of Surgery and Cancer are exhibiting a model of a human pelvis and hip replacement eight times the average size, to help them describe the work they are doing using a high-intensity X-ray beam to examine why some hip replacements fail. They will be exhibiting with Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron science facility, where they carry out some of this X-ray research.
In another unique exhibit, created by researchers from Imperial’s Department of Medicine and the University of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, layers of paper encase a hut, resembling human skin. Visitors are encouraged to rip away parts of the paper ‘skin’, to illustrate the damage that the debilitating tropical disease leishmaniasis can do to a person’s face and body. The researchers are exploring potential ways to treat the disease, by investigating how it can suppress the immune system.
Researchers from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology are also on hand at the exhibition to demonstrate the power of a chemical photography technique, which allows researchers to understand the chemical composition of different materials. Visitors can take part in live experiments to discover what microscopic traces of chemicals can be found on their fingerprints. The Royal Society Summer Exhibition runs until 4 July at London’s Southbank Centre.
— Lucy Goodchild, Colin Smith and Laura Gallagher, Communications
Watch a video about hip replacements
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