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Physics research from Exeter to be showcased in Parliament

A scientist duo from the University of Exeter is making their final preparations before showcasing their innovative research in a special event, held in the Houses of Parliament.

Physics PhD students Charles Downing and Martha Vardaki will present their work before a panel of experts, and a range of politicians, on Monday, 9 March as part of the national Set for Britain event.

Both Charles and Martha were shortlisted from hundreds of applicants from across the country, for the prestigious event. Their research is entered into the Physics session of the competition, which will end in a gold, silver and bronze prize-giving ceremony.

Charles’s research focuses on the quantum mechanics of electrons constrained to a helical nanostructure, while Martha will present her research about diagnosing prostate cancer with Deep Raman spectroscopy.

Speaking ahead of the event, Martha said: “Prostate cancer is currently killing one man every hour. As it is often the case with cancer, the best way to treat it is to diagnose it early.

“My participation in SET for Britain is not only a way to communicate and help people understand in simple terms how we are trying to achieve a minimally invasive diagnosis of the disease using Deep Raman spectroscopy, but also to raise awareness about prostate cancer diagnosis and show how the interaction between different scientific fields (physics, medicine, etc) can turn out to be extremely beneficial.”

Charles added: “I am really honored to present my scientific research to MPs at SET for Britain. It is a great platform that allows me to engage with a wider audience.”

Andrew Miller MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said, “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.” 

“These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and SET for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

Date: 6 March 2015

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