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Medical imaging with light, sound and sugar (!) at the Royal Summer Science Exhibition

Thomas A Roberts9 July 2014

Have you ever broken a bone and been for an MRI scan? Perhaps your dentist has interrogated your fillings with an14520757366_9435d47805 x-ray of your jaw. Or maybe you’ve seen a baby curled in its mother’s womb on an ultrasound machine. Medical imaging has revolutionised our lives to the point where we can see inside our bodies with incredible clarity. But now a new wave of imaging techniques is coming.

Now, we can use light to illuminate deep inside our bodies to see individual, microscopic cells dividing. We can use sound to generate exquisitely detailed images of blood vessels. And, we can even use sugar to make tumours within our bodies glow.

At this year’s Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, held last week, my colleagues and I from the UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging (CABI) exhibited the next generation of techniques that we are developing in our lab which push the boundaries of what we can see inside the human body. Having conquered the Cheltenham Science Festival, the CABI team showcased  a completely new exhibition.

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Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2011: Sun, Sky and Speech

zcqsd6012 July 2011

How are aeroplanes affected by ‘space weather’? Why are the Northern Lights interesting other than for pretty photos? How far does surrounding noise impair your ability to hear speech?

Three different groups of UCL scientists looked into precisely these questions at this year’s Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition last week. Along with more than 20 stands, the exhibition hosted a number of events throughout the week looking at various topics in more depth, in the form of panel discussions or Café Scientifique debates.

I have just completed a UCL Natural Sciences MSci degree, majoring in Astrophysics, so had a natural inclination towards the astrophysics stands during my visit, and was particularly excited by the Solar Flares and Northern Lights Café Scientifique last Saturday.

Solar Flare

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