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Café Scientifique Asks if Scientists Should Speak Out

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Dr Laura Waters visited the school to give a Café Scientifique presentation to Boys’ and Girls’ Division pupils in Years 11 to 13. Her talk addressed the question, “Should scientists speak out or stay quiet?”

Dr Waters joined Huddersfield University as a lecturer in pharmaceutical science in 2003, and is currently a Principal Enterprise Fellow in the School of Applied Sciences. She has also worked on documentaries for the BBC. She recently ran tests on men’s armpits to see if seventy-two-hour deodorants actually work!

She talked about whether people should believe everything they read, using articles in the Daily Mail as an example. Often claims are made about what people should or should not be doing, eating or drinking based on recent science; however, it is rare for the general public to get the whole story.

The importance of communication in science was also discussed, alongside the benefits of that the internet has brought in helping to spread information.

Dr Waters went on to talk about her team’s aims to develop alternatives to animal testing, including what further research is needed and what alternatives that are already in place. She described the various stages involved in the testing and showed a special polymer that can be used instead of skin to test creams.

Year 12 pupil Saamin Cheema attended and said, “I found it very interesting and intriguing. The discussion on alternatives for animal testing was very inspiring and enlightened me on different ways of seeing this controversial topic. Overall the talk encouraged me to research more into this topic area. I would really recommend these talks to other pupils.”

Laura Daly in Year 13 also found the talk really informative. She said, “I found the talk by Dr Waters very interesting and enjoyed hearing about the kind of work she does and the route she took to get to where she is in her career today. I found the section of her talk on animal testing particularly interesting as we are studying the ethics of animal testing in Religious Studies at the moment so learning about the different alternatives available was very useful.”

Café Scientifique is a series of lunchtime lectures arranged by Miss Pealing, one of the Girls’ Division chemistry teachers. These enrichment events bring together boys and girls throughout the year and provide insight into a variety of scientific topics.

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Dr Waters with some of the pupils who attended Cafe Scientifique

Dr Waters with some of the pupils who attended Café Scientifique

Pupils found Dr Waters

Pupils found Dr Waters's talk really engaging throughout