The Father of Molecular Machinery: An Evening with Professor Sir J. Fraser Stoddart

An Interview with Professor Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, Joanna Chustecki and Mel Jack with thanks to the EPS Community and Alumni Relations Office.

A cold autumnal night on campus and something incredible is happening in the Haworth building. Hundreds of students, postgrads, old friends, colleagues and members of the public have flocked to this well-established house of chemistry to hear one of the greatest chemists of our time talk. Professor Sir J. Fraser Stoddart to be exact. Within this huge crowd bustling to access the main lecture theatre stands a man who has published over 1,000 scientific papers, is one of the most cited chemists in the world, and has, on the 5th of October 2016, been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry ‘for the design and synthesis of molecular machines’.
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Is ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ A Realistic Fear?

Cat Collins ponders how suicidal attraction theory in rats and cats may lead to schizophrenia, personality changes and car accidents.

Nobody likes to feel like a puppet. The idea of freewill is something that is inherently connected to human nature, so the conflicting suggestion that human behaviour may be due to a number of parasites controlling your brain may disturb some. A rather extreme example of this in the animal world exists through the Lancet liver fluke, a parasite so desperate to access cattle liver it enslaves an ant, forcing it to climb blades of grass and be eaten. Many would like to believe that this is different for humans – human brains are incredibly complicated and could resist the mechanisms of a lowly parasite. Or can they?
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Analogue Memory Recording: Turn Your DNA Into a Hard Drive

Zidan Yang uses the latest advances in genome editing to unlock the secret memories of our cells.

Memory formation and storage, a notorious conundrum that human beings have been striving to understand for hundreds of years and still there is no definition universally accepted. Yet modern scientists embark on analysing memory at a digital and quantitative level. In the summer of 2016, biological engineers from MIT successfully devised an analogue memory storage machinery, which to some extent can shed new light on the interpretation of memory.
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Einstein’s Relativity and How Not to Get Lost

Philippa Jefferies looks at how Einstein’s theories affect us every day through our GPS devices.

We’ve all heard of Einstein’s theories of Relativity, even if only by name. They’re often associated with black holes and other immense objects in space and they dictate the movement of objects from our own planet to vast galaxies. However, the consequences of Special and General Relativity affect us more personally every day. A good example is the GPS on your phone!
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What a Load of Hot Air!

Marion Cromb and Daniel Thomas reveal the invisible beauty of the world around us with schlieren imaging.

Look here, there’s something cool happening! No, not just on the page, but in the air in front of it! There are many interesting phenomena taking place all the time in the air surrounding us, but their transparency normally makes them difficult to admire. However, certain techniques are able to pick up on slight changes in the way materials bend light, allowing us to see the otherwise hidden beauty of air flow and much much more.
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What Is Caffeine?

John Dunsmuir takes us on the journey coffee makes through our body.

Three hundred tonnes of caffeine are consumed globally each year, making it the world’s most popular psychoactive drug. But what makes this insecticide so popular?

The first credible source of coffee drinking comes from Fifteenth Century Sufi monasteries in modern day Yemen. It quickly spread via trade throughout the Mediterranean Basin, entering Europe via Italy.

Caffeine closely resembles the structure of a naturally occuring chemical in the brain known as Adenosine

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Birmingham and the RADAR Revolution

Patrick McCarthy uncovers the link beween your microwave, your uni and World War Two.

How does a microwave oven work? Finely tuned electromagnetic (EM) waves form standing nodes inside the oven’s chamber, exciting the bonds in water, causing them to heat up as the contents spin on the plate. The source of these microwaves, the cavity magnetron, has a history directly linked to the University of Birmingham.
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From Snorlax to Science

Augmented reality is fast becoming a technology of the everyday for millions around the world. Pokémon Go may have seemed like a simple mobile game, yet it signalled the arrival of AR into mainstream public consciousness. The ability to conjure and overlay virtual objects onto the real world is not just a defining advancement in the gaming industry, but also in how we live and operate on a day to day basis.
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