Illuminating lecture for local school pupils

Tuesday 14 December 2004

Light, colour and optics are the subjects of a public lecture at the University of St Andrews this week.

Local school children will hear Professor Kishan Dholakia from the School of Physics and Astronomy talk about cutting-edge technology using light to move and tiny particles such as DNA strands.

As well as seeing a molecular Strip the Willow, the lecture will include some fun demonstrations and attendees will be able to use a fully working Optical Tweezers kit.

Exhibits will be provided by Fifex, a spin-out company from the School of Physics and Astronomy, specialising in the design and manufacture of high-tech, thought- provoking interactive exhibits.

The event will take place at 1.45pm on Friday 17 December 2004, in the School of Physics and Astronomy.

In science fiction, people are familiar with ‘tractor beams’ where objects are moved without contact. In the laboratory, physicists have developed a technique to do this to small particles using a tightly focussed laser beam. This powerful yet straight forward technique is known as ‘optical tweezing’, where micrometer size particles can be grabbed, moved and generally manipulated without any physical contact. Optical tweezers have forged an important bridge between physics and biology and they can be used for a wide range of studies including the unravelling of DNA, studying cell mobility and biotechnology.

Anyone wishing to attend should contact the School of Physics and Astronomy on telephone 01334 463100.


Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information, please contact Claire Grainger, Press Officer – 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or [email protected]; Ref: press releases/tripthelight View the latest University news at

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