by Clavance Lim, MSc Student in the Department of Computing
Translating words to numbers
As humans, one way in which we are unique is our ability to communicate with complex language (arguably, science students possess this skill too). In contrast, computers ‘think’ not in language, but in binary numbers. Instead of the decimal system we count with, which uses the ten unique digits ‘0’ to ‘9’, computers ‘think’ only in ‘0’s and ‘1’s. This is because their hardware is controlled by tiny switches, which turn electrical current on or off. As it is difficult to control electrical current at such a microscopic level (switches can be as small as only 10x the size of an atom!),
by Michelle Lin, MRes Student in the Department of Life Sciences
Cryptococcosis: The Silent Killer
The young patient presented to the hospital with a fever, headache, seizures, and both eyes bulging out of their sockets. Suspecting an infection, doctors first treated the boy with a common antibiotic, Penicillin, presumably to knock out whatever bacterial agent they believed was causing his symptoms.¹
With the boy’s condition failing to improve, doctors kept the boy hospitalized as they searched for a diagnosis and administered various antibiotic and antiviral medications.
As his hospital stay dragged on, the boys condition continued to deteriorate until, after 52 days of ineffective treatments in the hospital, the boy succumbed to his illness.
by David Ho, PhD Student in the Department of Physics
A really strong magnet can dissolve Everything
One wrong thing everyone knows about the universe is “conservation of matter”. It seems obvious: if you have a chair, you can move it, or turn it around, and you still have one chair. If these were the only experiments you did, you might proclaim that the number of chairs in the universe always stays the same.
Of course, it doesn’t take much thought to counter this: with a hammer you can easily change the number of chairs in the universe. But if you collect every splinter of leftover wood, you’ll find the same amount before and after the destruction.
by Eva Kane, PhD Student in the Institute of Clinical Sciences
It is 23rd January 1922. Toronto is cold, and so are you. You stop at a tavern, hoping to warm your numbed hands. You take a seat next to two men, introduce yourself and settle down to thaw.
One identifies himself as Dr Charles Best. “And my mentor, Dr Frederick Banting”.
“You catch us on quite an evening. We’ve just changed the course of history! Have you heard of the fatal disease, diabetes?”
You have but are not well-versed.
“Within the pancreas are clumps of cells that, under a microscope, look different.
by Imanol Duran, MSc Student, Department of Life Sciences
Quarantine Connection – Grandma Calling
GRANDMA (with internet connection)
GRANDSON (with a STEM degree)
ACT I. SCENE I.
Spain. Each in their quarantine homes, awaiting the bending of the COVID-19 curve.
Grandma: Wait… I can’t see you, son.
Grandson: Grandma, take the thumb off the screen (laughs). Yes, that’s it.
Grandma: So what are those interesting things your mom told me about, you know, the ones to help uncle John’s lung cancer? (Accommodates in grandpa’s armchair, looking at the screen with the chin a bit too high).
Grandson: They’re called senolytics, and are tiny molecules that target some specific cells in cancer.
Usually a medical tool used to check your ear canal, Otoscope is now also the name of a project led by PhD students at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS).
Learning how to surf the wave of podcast popularity, the students are producing interview-style episodes with the aim of discussing complex medical science topics in a way that is informative to other students who may not be familiar with biomedical jargon.
This activity, now sponsored by the Imperial Graduate School, is currently under preparation and the first episodes are expected to be released later this year.
Recorded at The Pod in White City Place, the podcast is bringing together in the studio experts on different fields of biomedical research with PhD students to discuss topics such as precision medicine, ageing as a drug target or how genes affect behaviour.
On a brisk Wednesday at the end of September we launched our programme to encourage sustainable practices within the MRC LMS at the “GreeningLMS launch event”. The main aims of our event were to give LMS members the opportunity to get to know the team and find out about its initiatives. This event also allowed important informal chats inspiring new ideas and collaborations! The suggestion box was full of lots of exciting thoughts of how the GreeningLMS and LMS staff members can come together to create the most impact. It was a fantastic event with a great turnout including all LMS Imperial students on the 6th floor of the CRB building, Hammersmith Campus.
What a better way to kickstart the beginning of the new term if not with a new series of social events?
A CDT student-led committee has organised a schedule of “CDT Networking Events”, where students belonging to different CDT cohorts get to know each other in an informal setting. The first iteration of our CDT Networking events was held on Friday 17th of January in the EPSRC CDT Space. The events entail, in the first 30 minutes, an educational talk given by one of the EPSRC CDT students on a topic belonging to his\her research area. On the very first round, Alain Rossier (CDT Mathematics of Random Systems- Oxford Cohort) discussed about Maths and the game of Poker.
On the 4th of December, we, the Business School Research Graduates, shared research interests and a fun time with a Christmas dinner at Coco Momo. We are thankful to the Graduate School’s Research Community Fund to co-sponsor the event together with the Business School’s Student Staff Committee. It was a fantastic event with a large turnout across all departments and year groups.
The Imperial College Business School has a variety of PhD tracks including, amongst others, Management, Finance, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Economics, Marketing, and Operations. Consequently, although we pursue a large array of research topics as a PhD cohort, we often are focused on research within our respective departments.
Successful early and late stage PhD assessment submissions mean only one thing… escape from the fast pace of University life is required. In mid-September, a dozen graduate students from the Centre of Synthetic Biology packed their bags and made their way to the beautiful and dramatic mountains of Snowdonia National Park in North Wales for a long weekend away from the city. The purpose of the trip was for the current graduate students to bond over some of the UK’s best hikes, while also spending some quality time with some of the 2019 master’s students before they leave Imperial to do their own thing, ensuring long lasting connections.