Question: What have you discovered in your research?
Jon Copley answered on 22 Jun 2010:
So far this year, my team has found the world’s deepest undersea volcanic vents, where water appears to be gushing out so hot and under such pressure that it doesn’t seem to behave like water any more. Instead, it could be a new state of “water” – not really liquid, but not ice, or steam either – that we don’t really understand yet, called “supercritical water”. But we have to do some more tests first to be sure.
Over the past two years, my colleagues and I have also found around 30 new species of animals. By comparing them with other species elsewhere in the oceans, we’re trying to figure out what is behind the patterns of life in the oceans, which are our planet’s largest habitat.
And we’ve found a new crater on the ocean floor near Antarctica, with a small volcano in it, where the geology and chemistry is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Hopefully that will tell us more about how our planet works – and the geological processes that shape our world – as we study it further.
Daniel Richardson answered on 22 Jun 2010:
We have been studying the brain by putting people in a laboratory in a tiny cell, away from other people, and testing how they think. It turns out that a fundamental aspect of our thinking is a connection to those around us, which a large part of psychology has missed. Though it may seem like common sense to you.
Sharon Sneddon answered on 23 Jun 2010:
I’ve found out quite a lot really, I’ve discovered that cancer is an incredibly difficult disease to cure, as it comes in many forms, and is able to fight back against lots of drugs. This was quite depressing at first, because it’s going to take much longer than I would like to find a cure for all cancers. I’ve also found a molecule that is naturally found in your eye that may be used for stopping cancer cells spreading, if this is the case, then this is very exciting!
I’ve also found out that there are several genes that are essential for the implantation (attachment) of embryos into the mothers womb, and this was really exciting as it will help people who lose their babies, very early in pregnancy. I think the most important thing I have found out though, is that there is a LOT more to be discovered!!
Louise Dash answered on 23 Jun 2010:
Lots of little things, not many big things!
Recently we’ve discovered what level of detail we need to include in our calculations to still get results that agree with experiments, which is interesting (to us!)
I’ve also worked a few years ago to study how methane (an important greenhouse gas) converts to ethane (a much cleaner fuel) in the presence of a catalyst and discovered how the structure of the catalyst affected the reaction, which I think was quite useful too.