Head down to the seafront between 1-4pm on Saturday 29 July and celebrate women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) with Soapbox Science.
Soapbox Science hosts events across the UK and the world raising the profile of women in science – breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes about who a researcher is. And they are coming to Brighton for the first time this summer.
Chantal Nobs, a PhD student at the University of Brighton, was one of 12 women selected to participate in the Soapbox Science London event on London’s Southbank in 2016.
A scientist from our school left her lab to stand on a soapbox to explain nuclear physics to members of the public and to help eliminate gender inequality in science.
Chantal Nobs, a PhD student at the University of Brighton, was one of 12 women selected to participate in the Soapbox Science London event on London’s Southbank.
Her session ‘Nuclear physics: Exploring the centre of the atom and harnessing its potential’ involved discussing her work and her experiences as a female scientist.
Chantal said she was impressed with the reaction from members of the public. One said: “Now, not only do I know what it means, but I know that women can do it.”
The key aim was to help eliminate gender inequality in science by raising the profile and challenging the public’s view of women in science. In addition to sharing their research with the general public, all 12 women became role-models for future generations.
Chantal said: “Although I was incredibly nervous before stepping onto my soapbox I thoroughly enjoyed the hour-long session. As soon as I had introduced myself, out of no-where, a full crowd had formed around me. A complete mixture of young and old, male and female, some who knew all about nuclear physics, and some who had never heard of a nucleus.
“The best part of the event for me was the variety of questions asked, everything from ‘how did you get into nuclear physics’ to ‘how do we know whether we have created a nucleus if we cannot see it’.”
A scientist from our division is due to appear on BBC’s The One Show to show what a sonic boom from a whip crack looks like.
Dr Guillaume de Sercey, Research Fellow with the university’s Advanced Engineering Centre, will be using the same imaging techniques – Schlieren imaging – that he and his team use in their research into the combustion process occurring inside the cylinder of an engine.
He said: “Schlieren imaging lets us visualise the fuel evaporation, its mixing with the air and the subsequent flame.”
Guillaume used the technique to help the programme’s science presenter Marty Jopson ‘see’ the shockwave that emanates from the tip of a whip when it is cracked and the item is scheduled to be aired at 7pm on Tuesday, 31 May.
He said: “The Schlieren technique allows us to see any change in the refractive index in transparent fluids such as air and water. Changes in refractive index are typically caused by a change in temperature or pressure or simply a change of fluid (e.g. two different gases mixing).
“The setup I’ve used for the BBC is extremely simple, yet works wonderfully. It start with a point light source (a blue LED in this case) that is placed at the focal point of a telescope mirror. You therefore have a cone of light directed towards the mirror. The mirror reflects that light back to a point.
“At that point, we place a knife edge that obstruct part of the light. Past that point we place a camera or a screen. In the absence of disturbance, the knife edge only effect is to dim the image. However, any change in density in the air in front of the mirror will cause the light rays to bend slightly (the shimmering effect you see on a hot road) and some of them will be blocked by the knife edge causing dark areas in the image, while others that were previously blocked will be visible causing brighter areas.”
The University of Brighton and engineering innovation firm Libertine are developing what will be the first commercially-viable exhaust heat recovery system for trucks.
The system, set to revolutionise engines with more efficient and greener technology, will be one of a number of breakthroughs discussed at the world’s first technology forum for linear power systems technology researchers and application developers.
‘Linear Power 2015’ at the university from 7-8 September will debate how free piston linear power systems could transform how electrical power is generated, how vehicles are powered, and how heating and cooling are provided.
The university and Libertine’s heat recovery project, part-funded by the UK government through Innovate UK, uses a pair of Libertine’s linear free-piston expanders to convert waste exhaust heat into electrical power.
Dr Rob Morgan, Reader in the university’s School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, is leading the project for the university. He said: “The free piston system offers efficiency and cost benefits over conventional turbine and screw expanders, thereby increasing market uptake of the technology in the commercial vehicle market and reducing CO2 emissions.
“The potential reduction in CO2 emissions from successful commercialisation of the technology would benefit the road haulage industry through reduced operating costs and society as a whole in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”