More from British Science Week at Brock

More from British Science Week at Brock

British Science Week at the College saw top researchers from leading research-based universities share their insights and wisdom through presentations on a range of subjects.

Here is what some of them said afterwards:

Dr Darren Hillegonds, University of Oxford – Earth Sciences

What were the key things you spoke about?
“I spoke about how mass spectrometers are used to separate heavier and lighter ions, and how we use this analytical method to measure gases in the environment.  I also explained how the portable mass spectrometer I brought along operates, including the vacuum system and the quadrupole mass spectrometer.”

What will the students take away from the session?
“I hope the students now have some understanding of how and why we measure gases in the environment, including prospecting for helium, studying volcanic gases, and studying substances found underground such as water and oil and gas.”

Why is it important for students to study or pursue a career in this subject?
“The study of Chemistry teaches how to problem-solve using very understandable systems, allowing you to build more understanding and confidence to tackle bigger and more complex problems. These skills are easily transferable to other areas of science, as well as to everyday life.”

Is there any advice you would give to students interested in pursuing a career in this area?
“I guess I’d tell the students to focus intently on all the smart and helpful people around them.”


Professor Roland Jones, University of Bath – Neuroscience

Why did you come to speak at the College today?

“It’s always great to talk to young people like this because it’s something new for them and it gives me chance to have a bit of fun.”

What do you hope students will take away from your presentation?

“I hope they’ll take away an appreciation of neuroscience. That’s my area, and I’m always keen to enthuse people with it. The questions (asked by students afterwards) were all really good questions. Getting questions like that from young people who have only just been introduced to the subject is very rewarding.”

Why do you think it is important that young people feel inspired to study neuroscience?

“The brain is the most complex organ in the body and it’s the one we know the least about. I’ve worked on the brain for 40-odd years and I know that we’re just scratching the surface with what we understand about how it works and why it works the way it does. So, we need a generation of people who are interested in taking that research forward.”


Professor Alex Rogers, University of Oxford – Conservation Technology

WProfessor Alex Rogers, University of Oxfordhat were the key things you spoke about in your presentation?“I spoke about how computer science can help us sense the environment in order to monitor climate change and biodiversity using mobile phones and low-cost electronic devices; in particular, how it is helping to search for the New Forest cicada.”

What do you hope students will take away from your presentation?
“That computer science at its core is a theoretical science but has applications in almost every field. Computer scientists work across all sorts of other disciplines, from biology to engineering to finance.”

Why do you think it is important that young people feel inspired to study Computer Science?
“Computers are everywhere and are the fundamental tools used in nearly all engineering and scientific endeavours. Being comfortable with how they work and what you can do with them will become increasingly important. There are very few fields where individuals can impact the lives of billions of people, and in computing we have lots of examples of companies founded by young people that have done just that.”

What single piece of advice would you give to students studying Computer Science?
“Learn to program and explore as many different programming languages as you can. Most computer scientists find programming to be an incredibly creative and fun activity, and the idea that you can be paid to do it is amazing.”