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Frogs and Physics!

Over the past couple of days we have been running our new A-level study days in conjunction with Dr Mark Dickinson of the Photon Science Institute. The talks and interactive practical sessions are aimed at providing sixth form students with first-hand experience of science in action, and more specifically to help them understand how we are applying some cool innovative techniques to investigate the optical and structural properties of amphibian skin. Students from Whalley Range High School for Girls,Verdin High School, Macclesfield, and Ashton Sixth Form College all visited the museum and got to grips with a wide range of kit which allowed them to investigate for themselves the frogs’ thermoregulation and Infra-red reflecting pigments. 

Following the morning sessions in the Museum, where the pupils got to learn about the frogs and had an introduction to the physics. The afternoon was spent in Mark’s Lab where the pupils used Hi-tech spectrometers, Infra-red cameras, thermal imaging and Optical Coherence Tomography equipment (OCT). OCT is a remarkable new technique being developed at Manchester that allows us to see whats going on below the skin’s surface through producing a series of 3D images using light (see clip below for an OCT image of skin on a human palm (note the spiral sweat gland). We hope everyone from the schools enjoyed their visit and would like to say a big thanks to all the demonstrators who helped us deliver the sessions.  

                   (Image above courtesy of Mark Pierce, Wellman Labs)

Ifra-red reflectance research at Manchester and in Costa Rica:

Andrew shows OCT equipment at Manchester: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7464437.stm  

Mark tests rare frog skin with a spectrometer in Costa Rica: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7603225.stm

Link to The Photon Science Institute : http://www.psi.manchester.ac.uk/

One Response

  1. The students from Whalley Range High School had a really great time on their visit. It was very interesting to see how Physics and Biology work together in ‘Real life’ Science. Thank you to Andrew, Mark and Louise.

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