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Ever wondered what happens when Physicists meet Biologists? The result is fantastic! Tonight, you’ll learn how cross-disciplinary science is shaping the way we understand nature. We’ll discover how forces are key to unveiling how life functions. Not only is manipulation of forces key to developing state of the art research equipment, but our bodies themselves already use forces to fight disease.
Spring theory: hooked on a feeling
Dr Andrew Stannard (Research Associate in Physics at King’s College London)
The atomic force microscope is one of the great scientific inventions of the late 20th century, allowing scientists to “see” and “feel” a panoply of ordinarily-imperceptible entities with sub-nanometre resolution. At the heart of an AFM is a well-known 17th-century law that’s still going strong – Hooke’s law. Here we’ll journey from the nanoscale to the cellular level, to find out how you can do science by treating physical and biological objects as individual, or collections of, springs. We will discuss atomic interactions, bungee jumping, stabbing cancerous cells, and Mini Coopers.
Mechanoimmunology: how immune cells use force to halt disease
The immune system is in a race against time to detect potentially harmful substances and remove them before they get out of hand and cause disease. Detecting a pathogen in the body is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. To speed up the process, immune cells use mechanical force to ‘see’ what’s around them. In this talk I will discuss the technology we develop to observe immune cells using force to detect and attack pathogens in real time.