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News, anecdotes and pictures from across science and engineering at UCL


Soapbox science: bringing science to the people

By ucfbedg, on 22 May 2015

The planet Mercury is approximately 48 million miles away, but this summer I’m bringing Mercury to the SouthBank!

My name is Amy Edgington, I am a PhD student in the Earth Sciences department here at UCL, and I have been lucky enough to be selected as one of the speakers for Soapbox Science in London on 30 May.

Soapbox Science is a series of public outreach events happening all over the country this summer, promoting female scientists and the incredible work they are doing. It’s a great opportunity to share my research with the general public, answer questions, and engage in exciting debate!

Soapbox Science in London, sponsored by L’Oreal, ZSL, STFC and NERC, will transform the SouthBank into an arena for scientific discussion and learning. The variety of topics on show is massive- so there will definitely be something for everyone!

I will be taking to the soapbox to discuss my PhD research so far, investigating the interior of the planet Mercury. The large uncompressed density of the innermost planet suggests it is highly enriched in metallic iron, however, there are ground based measurements1 that imply a liquid layer remains in its interior.


Even just these two clues start to build an intriguing picture of the structure and dynamics hidden deep beneath Mercury’s cratered surface. As part of the Earth Sciences department here at UCL I use ab initio molecular dynamics to study the behaviour and thermodynamics properties of the materials that might form Mercury’s core, namely liquid iron and liquid iron alloys on the atomic scale.

A better knowledge of these materials may lead to a greater understanding of the interior of the solar systems smallest planet, and hopefully unlock insights into its evolution. I will be discussing all of this and more with the help of some iron bolts and a giant polystyrene Mercury on 30 May, from 2-5pm on the Southbank.

Follow @SoapboxScience and @ES_UCL to keep updated with this event, plus visit  soapscience.org for more information on all the SoapBox Science events this summer, and to read some of the amazing Women in Science blogs.

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