Dr. John Emsley teaches Sheffield students the science of looking good

Dr. John Emsley answers a question after the talk

Acclaimed science writer and broadcaster Dr. John Emsley talked to University of Sheffield students about the science of beauty yesterday evening.

The event was organised by Sheffield-based charity Science Brainwaves and was attended by 110 people.

Chemical romance

Dr. Emsley’s talk covered everything from hair dyes to Viagra, with occasional musical accompaniment from Take That, Katie Melua, Blondie and others.

“I’ve got background music in some of my slides to keep people awake,” he explained.

He listed the dizzying number of ingredients in some modern cosmetics such as facial creams and lipsticks, and explained the purpose of some of the chemical components that go in to such products.

Amongst the most interesting revelations of the evening was the negligible difference between factors 15, 30 and 50 sun screen. Dr. Emsley said that they respectively block 93%, 97% and 98% of UV rays.

“Don’t buy anything expensive over factor 15,” he suggested.

Science ‘can change the world’

After the talk Dr. Emsley told TGS News that he’s “trying to persuade people that chemistry is not the science that people are afraid of.

“People don’t realise just how important chemistry has been in delivering the goods people are getting.

“We’ve got science that can change the world.”

The event’s organiser was the outgoing Director of Science Brainwaves, 25-year-old University of Sheffield PhD researcher Tacita Nye.

On the event she said: “It went really well – we had a fantastic turn out, more than we were thinking.

“Over a hundred people have come to learn about chemistry and the science of beauty. It’s fantastic.”

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Science

Sheffield Hallam University hosts Richard O’Dwyer discussion

Julia O'Dwyer (middle) listens to a question at the discussion

Sheffield Hallam University hosted a discussion on the Richard O’Dwyer case yesterday evening. The event was organised by the civil rights pressure group Liberty and was chaired by its Director, Shami Chakrabarti.

Amongst those speaking at the event were Richard’s mother Julia O’Dwyer and Liberty’s Directer of Policy Isabella Sankey.

There was also an unexpected appearance from sympathetic conservative MP David Davis.

‘Destructive’

Mrs. O’Dwyer began comically: “who’d have thought that a student in his bedroom would end up in so much bloomin’ trouble?”

But her pain became obvious as she fought back tears explaining the difficulty of the past few months.

She told the audience that she has had to become a “mini-lawyer” to assist her son.

She described the stress of the situation as “destructive,” saying that it has put a lot of pressure on her relationships and work life.

“The prospect of Richard being in America is terrifying,” she said.

“We’re fighting our own government and it feels like a futile fight.”

‘Grotesque injustice’

Liberty’s Director of Policy Isabella Sankey highlighted that extradition “has its place” for cases such as international terrorism.

But she said that extradition is “a trauma in and of itself” and in order to avoid situations like O’Dwyer’s “there need to be some basic safeguards.”

There was an unexpected appearance from Conservative MP David Davis, who described the current extradition law as “draconian.”

He said that the law between the UK and USA is “completely asymmetric” and called for the public to voice their indignation.

“It’s a grotesque injustice,” he said.

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Politics

CERN scientist shares Higgs Boson evidence at the Showroom Cinema

Professor Dan Tovey speaking at the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield

CERN physicist Professor Dan Tovey from the University of Sheffield spoke at the Showroom Cinema today about the emerging evidence supporting the existence of the Higgs Boson particle.

The evidence has been accumulated by a tracking detector inside the Large Hadron Collider, which is located near Geneva in Switzerland.

The detector was partly built by the University of Sheffield and can take up to 40 million ‘snapshots’ of the experiment per second.

Hints of the particle

The Higgs Boson isn’t detected directly. Its existence is inferred from examining the debris left after collisions between protons travelling at close to the speed of light.

The mass of the Higgs Boson is unknown, but certain ranges of mass have been ruled out.

Experiments have been run to detect a Higgs Boson with a mass below 120 GeV (gigaelectronvolts) and above 130 GeV, with no indication of the particle’s existence.

Hints of the Higgs Boson are starting to surface within the remaining range of mass at around 125 GeV.

‘Very exciting’

At the end of 2011, two particles known as Z-bosons were observed during a collision.

The Z-bosons have now been observed emerging in pairs from collisions on three separate occasions.

Professor Tovey explained that seeing these particles in pairs is the “smoking gun” for the Higgs Boson.

“It’s getting very exciting,” he said.

“We may be on the brink of discovering the Higgs Boson.”

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Science

Golfing legend Alison Nicholas MBE opens refurbished lounge at Hallamshire Golf Club

Alison Nicholas opens Hallamshire Golf Club's new lounge

Alison Nicholas, two-time open winner and current captain of the European Solheim Cup team was in Sheffield today to open Hallamshire Golf Club’s refurbished lounge.

Nicholas walked away with the winning trophy at both the 1987 British Open and the 1997 American Open.

Most recently she led Europe to victory as captain of the 2011 Solheim Cup team in what many have described as one of the greatest golf matches ever played.

‘A fabulous job’

At the opening, she commented that the lounge looks “absolutely great.

“You’ve done a fabulous job:  the carpet, the decor – absolutely wonderful.”

Nicholas, 50, currently lives in Birmingham but was a member of the club as an amateur golfer.

“I’ve got great memories of the club and all that I achieved here,” she said.

“It’s great to be back to see everybody.”

Reception ‘overwhelmingly positive’

The lounge was completed on time and on budget about a month ago. As Chairman of the club’s House Committee, Miles Pierce oversaw the development of the new lounge.

He commented: “It’s fantastic – the bar is being used by more and more people as a result.”

He also said that the reception from the golf club’s members had been overwhelmingly positive.

Steve Dodd is the Gentlemen’s Captain at the club. He had more praise for the refurbishment:  “I think the end result is really good – we’ve had an awful lot of compliments.”

The club’s Ladies’ Captain, Anne Savage, said it was “amazing” to have Alison at the club, and said that she enjoyed talking with her about Europe’s Solheim Cup success.

Solheim team ‘did the business’

In an interview with TGS News, Nicholas spoke about her tenure as the captain of the Solheim Cup team. She said that the strength of the 2011 team was a result of them “coming together as a unit.

“We managed to create a great atmosphere in the team, a sense of belonging and belief that we could win.”

“And they went out and did the business,” she said.

Nicholas explained that she is stepping aside from the role to give someone else the “honour and privilege” of captaining the team.

She told TGS News that she already knows who will captain the Solheim Cup team in 2013. The announcement will come in the next couple of weeks.

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Sports

Founder of ‘drop the bill’ petition speaks in Sheffield

Dr. Kailash Chand speaking at Sharrow Community Forum yesterday

Dr. Kailash Chand OBE spoke at a Labour CLP meeting at Sharrow Community Forum yesterday evening. Dr. Chand founded the online petition ‘Drop the Health Bill’, which currently has 177,590 signatures. 

At the meeting he said that the NHS bill is “friendless” and told his audience that they had “lost the battle, but not the argument.”

Trust undermined

Dr. Chand said that the bill could have a destructive effect on the patient-doctor relationship.

He argued that the rationing of NHS resources for commercial gain rather than for clinical reasons could undermine the trust between doctors and their patients.

“There is no evidence that competition works in healthcare,” he said.

He was particularly critical of the Conservatives, saying that their official line on the bill is “nothing more than a smoke screen.”

“The Tories really are good as far as PR is concerned,” he said.

‘Democracy was failing’

After the meeting, Dr. Chand spoke with TGS News about his recent campaigning.

“I started because democracy was failing,” he said. “The government was not listening to the BMA, was not listening to royal colleges, was not listening to GPs and even patient groups.

“They were not even listening to their own party.”

He said that he wouldn’t mind the changes if he thought that privatisation would lead to better public health, but there is no evidence to support this.

“It’s totally ideological,” he said.

‘We will repeal the bill’

Paul Blomfield, Labour MP for Sheffield Central, attended the talk.

He said that Dr. Chand “both outlined the challenges that we face as a result of this bill going through, but also motivated people by pointing out that there is still an opportunity to save the NHS from its worst impact.

“Even if we don’t force the Tories to, when Labour is reelected in 2015 we will repeal the bill,” he said.

Drop the Health Bill Petition

1 Comment

Filed under News, Politics

Candlelit vigil for NHS outside Nick Clegg’s Sheffield office

Protesters outside Nick Clegg's Sheffield Office

A candlelit vigil was held outside Nick Clegg’s Sheffield office this evening in protest against the NHS Bill, which has just cleared it’s final reading in the House of Lords.

The bill will now return to the House of Commons where MP’s will consider any suggested amendments to the legislation.

The vigil lasted 45 minutes from 8:00 pm to 8:45 pm and was attended by approximately 65 people, including NHS workers.

Clegg ‘a disgrace’

At 7:55 pm, there were 16 protesters gathered outside Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam office. They included a lady holding a sign which read ‘Nick Clegg, you are a disgrace to our city. Shame on you for defying the people of Sheffield’.

“Now we have to debate whether he’s the worst MP in Sheffield’s history,” she suggested.

Also present was the Sheffield Central Constituency Labour Party’s Secretary Jim Smith. On the bill, he commented that the coalition “have no mandate.

“They didn’t talk about [the bill] in their manifesto,” he said.

Bill ‘a disaster’

By 8:25 pm there were approximately 65 people present. A few words were said by some of the more outspoken protesters including a Sheffield doctor who said that she is “deeply deeply worried” about the bill.

She went on to say that the bill is “a disaster in terms of the fragmentation of patient care.”

After one minute of silence the crowd disbanded at 8:45 pm. Faith Salih, one of the organisers of the vigil, said the protest showed that “people from all backgrounds care.”

The vigil is one of many which are taking place across Britain tonight. They have been orchestrated by political blogger Dr. Éoin Clarke.

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Politics

Sheffield Builders find bomb in backyard

Paul Smithson, 59, noticed the shell in his yard on Saturday

Brothers Paul and Richard Smithson, both Sheffield-based builders, found an undetonated World War II shell in their backyard on Townsend Street on Saturday.

The episode caused a small area of Crookes to go into police lockdown as bomb disposal experts from Nottingham moved in to remove the explosive.

Not just scrap metal

The shell had been unearthed a week before the bomb-scare when Richard was excavating the family yard to lay the foundations for a new building.

Thinking it to be a piece of scrap metal, he picked the bomb up and tossed it aside with other debris.

It wasn’t until Paul, 59, and his son Lee took a closer look at the metal that they realised what Richard had dug up.

Possible explosion

“It was rounded on one end and it seemed to be going into a point shape or a dome shape at the other end,” said Paul.

“We decided that it does look more like a shell.”

When the seriousness of the situation became apparent, Paul rang the police. A firearms expert was sent to investigate.

“They decided to call the bomb disposal squad from Nottingham,” said Paul.

The police asked residents in close proximity to the bomb to remain in their front rooms to avoid a possible explosion as the bomb was removed.

This is the first time in Paul’s career that he has found an undetonated bomb. He reflected: “It’s not so bad at first when you think it’s a piece of scrap metal, until you’ve realised that something tells you it’s a shell.”

“Then, you don’t feel so good.”

2 Comments

Filed under News