05 Sep 2008 00:00:00.000
Pioneering scientists from The University of Nottingham are taking to the stage at a prestigious international Science Festival to reveal the latest developments in their research.
This year’s BA Festival of Science is in Liverpool from September 6–11 when around 400 academics from all over the world will meet to share their expertise and opinions in this celebration of science, engineering and technology.
The British Association for the Advancement of Science is a registered charity which exists to advance the public understanding, accessibility and accountability of the sciences. It has been staging the festival for more than 175 years and today it is the largest event communicating science to the public.
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The University of Nottingham’s very own YouTube star, Professor Martin Poliakoff, will be giving his unique insight into how ‘Green Chemistry’ can help towards a more sustainable future. Green chemistry is about developing new products and processes which eliminate the need to use hazardous substances. (See related video via http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=DFnvWm0DzR0 ) More specifically, the Professor will reveal how supercritical fluids can be used as clean solvents which are kinder to the environment. Supercritical fluids are highly compressed gases which combine some of the properties of liquids and gases in an intriguing way. (See related video via http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=yBRdBrnIlTQ )
It’s only recently they’ve been applied as solvents for green chemistry. Professor Poliakoff will talk about how the fluids can be used for the manufacture of things as diverse as mineral water bottles and pharmaceuticals. The Professor and his colleagues at the University recently shot to internet fame with their Periodic Table of Videos, a website showing video clips about every single chemical element, making chemistry more accessible to the YouTube generation. The Periodic Table of Videos can be found at http://www.periodicvideos.com
Another star of the Green Chemistry event is the University’s Dr Samantha Tang, Public Awareness scientist in the School of Chemistry. Dr Tang will explain how researchers in the field are raising awareness of green chemistry and engineering among the general public, using a variety of outreach from visits to secondary schools to the first Green Chemistry Workshop in Ethiopia.
Two experts from the University will be informing the debate on one of the Festival’s hot topics… ‘Fat of the land or land of the fat?’ Professor Ian Macdonald from the School of Biomedical Sciences will give an overview of the rising prevalence of obesity and overeating. Professor Macdonald is also President of the Nutrition Society and will highlight a particular concern that an increasing number of children are becoming overweight. Consequently children are being seen with health problems previously only associated with adulthood. He’ll reveal the latest research about the factors contributing to the obesity epidemic, the risks to health and the potential long-term consequences for the UK.
But does what our mothers eat in pregnancy affect our future bodyweight? Associate Professor of Neonatology, Dr Helen Budge, will shed some light on this question to the Festival audience. She will explain how poor nutrition in the early period of fetal development can lead to obesity, whereas too little in the last months of pregnancy can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes. Overeating during pregnancy can also have long-term effects on the child with an increased risk of premature birth and childhood obesity. The research at the University Hospital Nottingham is striving to understand the interplay between maternal nutrition and infant nutrition after birth. It is particularly important as the number of obese pregnant mothers is increasing every year.
Another topical issue under the microscope at the Festival is sea level rise and climate change. Dr Richard Bingley from The University of Nottingham’s Institute of Engineering, Surveying and Space Geodesy (IESSG) will tell audiences about the latest methods for measuring changes in the level of the land at the coast. He’ll explain how satellite and ground-based techniques are being used to provide information on how those levels are changing, and how this information can be used to estimate past, current and future rises in sea level to help long-term planning for flood risk management. Dr Bingley will give the latest results from projects funded by DEFRA and the Environment Agency about land and sea levels around Great Britain and in London.
The BA Festival of Science runs from 6–11 September and includes around two hundred separate events and lectures at locations all over Liverpool. They’re aimed at everyone from families with young children to professional scientists. Full details of all the events are on the Festival website http://www.the-ba.net/festivalofscience.
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Notes to Editors
: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.
Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy).
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.
The BA Festival of Science 2008 is being organised by the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science) in partnership with the University of Liverpool. It is supported by the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, the Liverpool Culture Company and the Northwest Regional Development Agency. Find out more at www.the-ba.net/festivalofscience
To register for access to the press papers or to the Press Centre at the BA Festival of Science, visit www.the-ba.net/pressregister
The BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science) is the UK's nationwide, open membership organisation that exists to advance the public understanding, accessibility and accountability of the sciences and engineering. Established in 1831, the BA organises major initiatives across the UK, including National Science and Engineering Week, the annual BA Festival of Science, programmes of regional and local events, and an extensive programme for young people in schools and colleges. The BA also organises specific activities for the science communication community in the UK through its Science in Society programme. For more information, please visit www.the-ba.net.