Franklin’s fight for DNA

Rosalind Franklin was a forerunner in the preliminary research towards determining the structure of DNA. Her X-ray crystallography photos and corresponding mathematical data led to the discovery of the helical structure of DNA.

These results set out the basis for many further studies, including the well-known discoveries by Watson and Crick. Controversy over Franklin’s contributions to Watson and Crick’s work has been the subject of debate continuing to this day.
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Star Wars

Is space the final frontier of warfare? Siddharth Trivedi explores whether the offensive capabilities of space infrastructure will be needed one day.

The Star Wars franchise is close to the hearts of many around the world for depicting adventurous stories of love and loss throughout a fictional galaxy. The iconic series has continued to wow audiences since the release of A New Hope (1977) in its portrayal of epic space battles, featuring dogfights between the futuristic X-Wing and the sleek TIE Fighters.
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Materials For a Greener Tomorrow!

Kit Béhard finds that nanofoams, Stanene and Shrilk may be the keys to a sustainable future.

Goodbye Plastic?

Plastics are arguably the most important material of the 20th century. Since the invention of the first synthetic plastic in 1907 they’ve been used in everything from toys and packaging, to electronics and transportation. The reason for the versatility and wide use of plastics is that they are flexible, strong and cheap.
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Visualising the Future with Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality has become an exciting new piece of technology and is quickly evolving. William Richardson looks into how virtual reality may change how we work and live in the future.

Virtual reality (VR), following the trend in most technology, is likely to become integrated into our lives, whether that be on the commute to work, in the home or professionally. But what applications will VR have in the future and how will it change how we work and live?
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Blockchain: A Public Ledger for a Global World

Marion Cromb interviews Arifa Khan, an advocate for Blockchain, a pioneering new way to bank, buy and transfer property.

Arifa Khan is the Managing Director of Genius Incubator, which raises investment funding for businesses, and is the founder of Fintech Storm, a monthly series of talks on innovations in the financial technology sector. She has 15 years’ experience in the financial and investment banking industry, and has an MBA and a B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering.
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Mind Reading: The Science Behind the Superpower

Will it be possible to read minds in the future? Sophie Dixon examines the current research and future possibilities of mind reading.

Mind reading, the phenomena that has for so long been considered a fantasy, is becoming a more realistic possibility. While mind reading devices for casual communication are still a long way off, the ability to translate a person’s brain activity into written text, a process known as neurotelepathy, has already been achieved.
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Thorium: The Nuclear Fuel of the Future?

Thorium is described by its proponents as a “superfuel”. Marion Cromb asks what makes it better than what we have now?

Currently, nuclear reactors use enriched uranium as fuel. It is 96% uranium isotope U-238, and just 4% fissile U-235. Fissile isotopes split when hit by a neutron, and are the only isotopes capable of sustaining a nuclear chain reaction. While uranium power is a thousand times more efficient than fossil fuels, reactors utilise less than 1% of their fuel and generate plutonium waste that is dangerously radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years.
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X-ray Crystallography

Revealing Structure: Amy Thompson revisits the technique that science has overlooked.

X -ray crystallography is a fundamental method used to study atoms that make up a solid object. As the name suggests it involves the use of X-ray beams, which are fired at the solid that has been made into a crystal form. Information is received from the X-ray beams as they bounce off the crystal; this is recorded as a series of dots. These dots reveal the organisation of the atoms within the solid structure allowing scientists to see how a structure is arranged. It is a complex procedure based on highly intricate, yet fundamental mathematics that enable the prediction of a solid structure to be mapped out.
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Plenty of Room at the Bottom?

Visionary or mere daydreamer? Siddarth Trivedi investigates Feynman’s contributions to nanoengineering.

Richard Feynman was an American theoretical physicist well-known for his work in quantum electrodynamics for which he won a Nobel Prize in 1965, at the age of 47. The famous pictorial representation schemes in quantum physics that he developed, were later named after him as Feynman diagrams. In contrast, his contributions in the nanoengineering field are relatively unknown – in particular, his lecture There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom given at Caltech in 1959. At the time, the atomic scale was mostly inaccessible, yet this lecture identified him as a visionary for the future of engineering. But was Feynman’s contribution actually important or was this simply the ramblings of a daydreaming physicist?
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Astronomical Superstars

Marion Cromb explores the cosmic contributions of the women of Observatory Hill.

“Oh, Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me” is the popular mnemonic used to remember the standard stellar classification system, used by astronomers and astrophysicists all over the world. You might have assumed it was a guy that came up with this aide-memoire in the 1900s, but sources indicate it was the woman who pioneered the OBAFGKM system itself: Annie Jump Cannon.
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