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Scientists join tomorrow’s world ‘on the road’

Scientists from the University of St Andrews will join the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ roadshow in Glasgow next week, in support of the BBC’s efforts to ‘take science on the road’.

The national science event, which has already visited London, Birmingham and Cardiff, will arrive in Glasgow for the first time next week (24th and 27th July), for a 4 day science exhibition at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Dr Kishan Dholakia and his research colleagues from the University’s School of Physics and Dr Alyson Tobin and Dr David Logan from the School of Biology, will have their latest research showcased at the event, as part of a ‘Live Lab’ feature.

The aim of the roadshow, based on the popular ‘Tomorrow’s World’ TV programme, is to bring the latest discoveries and inventions direct to a wide audience of school children, students and families. It is billed as the opportunity to experience new gadgets, inventions, entertainment and educational technologies first hand, and has been designed to promote learning and interest in science, technology and engineering.

The St Andrews scientists will exhibit their research as part of the ‘Live Lab Zone’ interactive display, alongside other zones for health and invention.

Dr Dholakia and his team will exhibit their optical rotator device, a compact and easy to use device, which employs lasers to move and rotate small objects with incredible precision and accuracy. The device can be used to move an object as small as a 1 micron (1,000th of a millimetre) diameter glass sphere. The ‘optical tool bag’ developed by Dr Dholakia consists of optical tweezers and ‘optical scissors’ which can cut through molecules such as DNA. With colleagues led by Dr Peter Bryant in the School of Biology, the ‘optical tool kit’ is being used to investigate how DNA is damaged.

The results could help understand how damaged DNA can cause diseases such as cancer. Dr Dholakia believes that the technology shows that lasers are not just tools for physicists but have a wide application across all science.

Dr Tobin and Dr Logan’s research into mitochondria, the powerhouses of living cells, will also be on display. Mitochondria produce the energy needed by the rest of the cell to function, and, without them, we cannot survive. Despite this crucial role, knowledge of how the behaviour of mitochondria is controlled by the cell is a major unknown in biology.

Visitors will be able to watch the mitochondria moving inside living tissue thanks to a new technique of ‘fluorescent tagging’, which makes them visible under a simple microscope. The research is aimed at identifying the genes controlling the shape, size and number of mitochondria in a cell, and will increase our understanding of respiration in both plants and animals.

Items from the Glasgow event will be featured by the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World programme, including a live broadcast from the show on Wednesday 24th July.

The Tomorrow’s World Roadshow will take place at the Scottish Exhibition Conference Centre, Glasgow, from Wednesday 24th July to Saturday 27th July. Opening times at the SECC are: Wednesday 10.00am – 7.30pm, Thursday to Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm.

For further information on Tomorrow’s World Roadshow or to request graphics please contact Bridget Raithatha at Brand Events : Tel : 020 7471 1085 / Email: bridgetr@brandevents.co.uk

NOTE TO EDITORS:

· The group from the School of Physics involved with the roadshow consists of Dr Dholakia and seven of his colleagues, namely: Mike MacDonald, Lynn Paterson, David McGloin, Daniel Rhodes, John Livesey, Veneranda Garces-Chavez and Antonia Carruthers.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE EXHIBITS FROM ST ANDREWS, DR DHOLAKIA AND DR TOBIN ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW. PLEASE PHONE GAYLE COOK TO ARRANGE – CONTACT DETAILS BELOW.

ENDS

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: Tomorrows World Ex pr 190702.doc View the latest University news at http://www.st- andrews.ac.uk/extrel/press.htm

 

 

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