08/2019: Microbiota (C. Pearson)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 15 August 2019 from 19:00 for 19:30

King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: Microbes in our body: health or disease?

Microbiota (the microbes present all across our body) can have unexpected effects on our body. These effects range from disturbing the immune system in our gut to influencing our brain! Given their wide influence, alterations to the microbiota are linked to a variety of diseases. Equilibrium between tolerance for certain microbes and protection against pathogens is key to our health. Claire will talk about how we might be able to beneficially alter the microbiota or mimic their symbiotic effects. These techniques will include antibiotics, fermented food and drinks, altered diet and the joy of faecal transplant.

Speaker: Claire Pearson

Claire is a Laboratory Manager in NDORMS, University of Oxford, and is also an Experimental Lead in the Oxford Centre for Microbiome Studies (OCMS). She came to Oxford several years ago to study the intestinal immune system but has since been converted to understanding the role of the microbiome that the immune system interacts with.  Through the OCMS she has become involved with many microbiome projects that cover diverse fields, illustrating the importance of the microbiome in practically everything.

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05/2019: Electron Microscopes (C. Allen)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 16 May 2019 from 19:00 for 19:30

King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: Imaging atoms in an electron microscope – the ultimate tool for materials science

Why is one material brittle and another ductile? What determines the electrical conductivity of a material? How can we increase the energy storage capacity of battery materials? To understand why a material has particular physical properties we need complete knowledge of its atomic structure. Modern transmission electron microscopes (TEM) allow us to directly visualise the atomic structure of materials increasing our understanding of why it behaves as it does and ultimately enabling the engineering of superior materials. Unfortunately the image formation mechanism for electron images is not trivial, being fundamentally quantum mechanical in nature, and as such great care must be taken to correctly acquire and interpret images.

In this talk I will give an introduction to the TEM and the various image formation mechanisms we can exploit. I will show how TEM imaging can be applied to a wide range of materials science problems from failure of jet engine turbine blades to degradation of lithium-ion batteries and studying novel low-dimensional materials.

Speaker: Dr Christopher Allen

Dr Chris Allen is principal scientist at the UK’s national facility for aberration corrected electron microscopy, the Electron Physical Sciences Imaging Centre (ePSIC), Diamond light source. Chris completed his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in physics at the University of Leeds. In 2011 Chris moved to the University of Oxford and since 2016 has been running the microscopes at ePSIC. Chris’s personal research focuses on the application of novel electron imaging techniques to low dimensional materials.

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04/2019: Multiverse (D. Kodwani)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 18 April 2019 from 19:00 for 19:30

King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: The Big Bang and a Multiverse

Our current understanding of the universe relies on the big bang model that describes the beginning of the universe. This description, coupled with the evolution of the universe in time is known as the standard model of cosmology. In this talk I will explain exactly what cosmologists mean by the big bang and the standard cosmological model and what its limitations are. Attempts to address its limitations have led to ideas that suggest we may be living in a multiverse.

Speaker: Darsh Kodwani

Darsh Kodwani is a DPhil student in the Physics department at the University of Oxford. His research has focused on understanding gravity on broad range of scales – from the very early universe to the nature of black holes. Most recently he has been studying how the universe started to get to where it is today. When not doing physics you will find Darsh either on the football pitch or sitting somewhere watching football.

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