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.
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.”