• Question: What is the best science experiment you have ever done?

    Asked by Olivia to Gavin, Karen, Mark, Michel, Roisin on 9 Nov 2016. This question was also asked by 644xygg26, HiMyNameIs......, Odran, 875xygg42.
    • Photo: Michel Destrade

      Michel Destrade answered on 9 Nov 2016:

      Using a medical device called a shear wave elasticity machine to figure out how soft brain matter really is. It uses ultrasound technology, just like the ultrasound used to see a baby inside the uterus of a pregnant woman. If you put its probe against an organ it shows you what’s happening inside in real time on a screen. And then, the device launches a sound wave inside the organ, and the ultrasound picture screen shows you the wave travelling through the organ and tells you the speed of sound in that organ. From that speed I can calculate how stiff or soft the organ is (just like being measuring how fast a guitar string vibrates tells you how taut or slack it is). That way I was able to figure out that brain matter is actually softer than jelly. What a cool result! (well I thought so anyway)

    • Photo: Roisin Jones

      Roisin Jones answered on 10 Nov 2016:

      I think the experiment I was happiest with was one where I managed to figure out the right reaction conditions for an experiment that allowed me to identify four impurities from the reaction most commonly used to make amphetamines, which made me very happy because they can be used as analytical standards to detect those impurities in random samples and figure out what route was used to make the drugs!

    • Photo: Mark Kennedy

      Mark Kennedy answered on 10 Nov 2016:

      I’ve done an experiment involving the Hubble Space Telescope before to investigate elements abundances in a cataclysmic variable.

      I think this was my best experiment because it was using Hubble, which is the most famous telescope we’ve ever built. I mean, I grew up seeing images from Hubble on TV and on the internet, so getting to use it was a dream come true!

    • Photo: Karen

      Karen answered on 12 Nov 2016:

      Hi Olivia, in my job we don’t do experiments as such, but we spend a lot of time looking down a microscope. I love when a very sick person comes to the hospital (I don’t love that their sick!) and I can tell the Doctor exactly what is wrong and they can get treated and recover e.g. Vitamin deficiencies (B12/folate ) can make you very ill , can be identified on a blood film and can be easily sorted…job done!