• Question: what is your favourite thing to use in science

    Asked by parr1vet to Simone, Ryan, Rachel E, nikrobinson, Michael C, Martin M, Anton, Amy, Alexander DB on 6 Mar 2024.
    • Photo: Nik Robinson

      Nik Robinson answered on 6 Mar 2024:

      My brain!
      There are so many questions in science, and we can use our knowledge and experience and inquisitive minds to explore these questions, propose hypotheses and then devise experiments to test these hypotheses.
      Since grows with us, each time something is discovered, or a theory is found to be wrong, science works to find new and acceptable answers!

    • Photo: Anton Edwards

      Anton Edwards answered on 6 Mar 2024:

      I like to use my hands to make things, my eyes to see the truth, my ears to hear other people, my nose to smell the flowers and the chemicals, and my brain to see the beautiful patterns in all this stuff.

    • Photo: Rachel Edwards

      Rachel Edwards answered on 7 Mar 2024:

      Cryogenics and large superconducting magnets.
      Cryogenics are really cold liquids – liquid nitrogen is at about -200 degrees C, while liquid helium is at about -269 degrees C. They are used for keeping experiments cold, and seeing how materials behave at different temperatures. Superconducting magnets have to be kept very cool (usually with liquid helium), they are pieces of equipment where we can measure how materials behave in different magnetic fields.
      I don’t get to use these much anymore, so get very excited when I find an excuse!

    • Photo: Ryan Durnall

      Ryan Durnall answered on 7 Mar 2024:

      We have to use so many different tools and pieces of equipment to help us fix fighter jets. One of my favourite things to use is actually on the jet itself – the engines. The jet I work on has 2 engines, and they are incredible powerful. It’s not too much different from a rocket ship that flies to space, and the engines are very important so we have to test them to make sure they are working as they should be.

      One of my favourite things to do is to push the throttles all the way forward which puts the engines into something called ‘reheat’. This is where a big flame is fired out the back of the engines to get them to full power. When you do this, the noise and vibration is insane powerful. We have to protect our ears with ear defenders, but if you’re standing close enough, you can feel the inside of your body vibrate from the power. It’s fascinating to be able to work with and test something that has the capability to make a fighter jet fly at over 1,500mph – around twice the speed of sound.

    • Photo: Alexander De Bruin

      Alexander De Bruin answered on 7 Mar 2024:

      my favourite piece of equipment is the Diamond Light Source, which is a big particle-accelerator powered x-ray laser that I used to try and understand very thin layers of polymers on surfaces.

    • Photo: Amy Rattenbury

      Amy Rattenbury answered on 8 Mar 2024:

      As someone working in forensic and archaeological science, my favorite tool has to be the drone. With a drone, I can traverse difficult terrains and archaeological sites, capturing details and perspectives impossible to achieve on foot. This bird’s-eye view is not just about getting a better look; it’s about uncovering clues and features hidden from the ground level, which can be game-changing in both crime scene analysis and uncovering ancient secrets.

      What truly excites me is the blend of technology and exploration. Drones equipped with high-resolution cameras, thermal imaging, and LiDAR sensors allowing us to see the unseen. They transform the way I approach sites, making my investigations more thorough and less intrusive.

    • Photo: Simone Girdham

      Simone Girdham answered on 8 Mar 2024:

      My favourite things to use are my brain/hands…but externally, I love using chemicals such as dry ice, bunsen burners (flames) were always good fun. I love colour reagents too 🙂

    • Photo: Martin McCoustra

      Martin McCoustra answered on 8 Mar 2024:

      I must admit I agree with Nik… Using my brain to think things through and solve problems is at the core of my science. Yes… I like all the vacuum kit I’ve designed and built, especially when it works and I like tinkering with computers and electronics. But it simply gets down the most fun coming from brain storming ideas with other people.

    • Photo: Michael C Macey

      Michael C Macey answered on 8 Mar 2024:

      My favourite thing is our fluorescence microscope – we add a dye to our samples that glows bright green when in contact with a microbe and under a specific light emitted by the microscope. It turns looking for a tiny thing on a grey background into looking for the bright green dots on a black background! And if we add a second dye, it stains the dead microbes red, so it makes counting even easier, as you know you are only counting living cells – a super time saver!