How Science Really Works - lessons from Nobel Prizes in Chemistry
Or: How to measure next to nothing when you don't even know what it is
A lecture by Dr Dewi Lewis
Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, UCL
St Peter's Memorial Hall, 15 October 2014, 7pm
"The scientific method" is "how science works". But how do scientists know what questions to answer? Or what to look for if we don't already know the answer? And just how do we measure next to nothing when we don't know what it is?
Dr Lewis will discuss a number of Nobel prizes to try to show how amazing chemical discoveries can be. They will span discoveries that have had major impact on medicine, industrial chemistry, agriculture, the economy and our future. But he will also remind us that what we might now consider mundane science certainly wasn't always so; and still isn't.
Central to this will be a discussion of a piece of equipment from the early 20th century capable of measuring 0.0000001 grams of a gas which we knew nothing about, without which the periodic table would be incomplete and chemistry even more perplexing...
For tickets please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01904 527300
Dr Dewi Lewis is a senior lecturer in physical chemistry at UCL and was until recent the undergraduate admissions tutor. His research is focussed on the computational investigation of the synthesis of materials (why do particular materials form at all?), understanding odd physical behaviour (why do some materials expand under pressure?) and the optimisation of catalysts (designing new routes to improved compositions). As part of UCL Chemistry's outreach efforts he runs the Spectroscopy in a Suitcase initiative, gives HE day talks, conducts mass investigations of how washing powder works, and gives talk to interested parents and scientific societies. He also teaches (amongst other things!) first year students how to solve the Schrodinger equation properly and not to think of it as "just maths". He is also a keen photographer and overly-obsessive follower of Wales and Bangor City FC.