Summer of Science at a Glance

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This summer has been a busy one for the science departments at Southampton, this article aims to highlight just a few of the impressive discoveries made.

While we were all on holiday researchers at Southampton were busy solving problems which could save the world a large amount of energy as well as money. One study from Scientists at Southampton showed that copper can be used to destroy the highly contagious norovirus, a virus which currently costs the NHS at least £100 million per year. Also in medicine, scientists from Southampton have announced they are in the final stages of testing a portable, low cost device for diagnosing osteoporosis. Which will not only improve diagnostic rates but is also a lower cost alternative to current techniques.

Meanwhile engineers at Southampton have provided new insight in turbulence which could lead to huge energy savings. Even though turbulence may sound like a geeky foreign term, we all experience its effects on a daily basis. Turbulence is the chaotic swirling of fluids seen in streams, or when your add milk into tea. Even though its effects are widespread its complex nature means predictions are difficult. In fact our lack of understanding about turbulence has led to it being described by many scientists as one of the greatest remaining unsolved problems of classical physics.

Dr Ati Sharma from Southampton has been involved in developing new models for predicting turbulent flow, which will enable improvements to be made to vehicle efficiency.

All these achievements have also been accompanied by further investments for the future, with Southampton Physics department being part of a new investment in the teaching and research of Physics in the south east. While £7million was invested in technologies to help drive robotics and autonomous systems, advanced materials energy and grid scale energy storage.

On the 12th of September the University also launching the largest photonics and electronics institute in the UK. The zepler institute is a research centre that will bring together leading research in photonics, advanced materials, quantum technologies and nanoscience. The opening of the center even saw Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google as the Guest of Honour. Who expressed his view that the work carried out at the new research centre will help frame the future of the world wide web. Professor Hall, Dean of Physical and Applied Sciences at the University of Southampton says “The formation of the Zepler Institute ensures that University of Southampton continues to make pioneering breakthroughs and discoveries that will meet society’s global communication challenges. It also puts us in a leading position to develop the future of the Internet, which is the infrastructure for the World Wide Web.”

Professor Sir David Payne, right showing Vint Cerf around the new labs

It is reassuring to know that in a time of economic uncertainty Southampton is still proving itself at the forefront of research and innovation.

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