Next-generation science presented at House of Commons

09 March 2009

The future of forensics, fuel cells and self-repairing plastics will be presented by the next generation of researchers at the House of Commons today.

SET for Britain 2009 will see the brightest early career scientists exhibit their work, as hundreds of posters displaying the latest in research are shown in London.

Thirty posters from early-stage chemical scientists around the country explain how their research will lift previously invisible fingerprints, provide cheap, clean power for cars, and develop plastics that "heal" cracks spontaneously.

Roberto King, working in a research group at Loughborough University, discovered that a well-known reaction with simple chemicals will expose the most elusive fingerprint - even on difficult surfaces such as cling film.

Furthermore, the technique is so sensitive it can develop the text on an inkjet-printed letter from just the envelope it was delivered in - a potentially crucial tool for forensic investigation.

Self-repairing plastics have a wealth of possibilities, Stefano Burattini will explain. He and his research team at the University of Reading have studied how specially-designed polymers allow linking molecules to move freely through the material, closing up any cracks and completely restoring its mechanical properties.

The best poster from each of three categories will win 3,000, and the overall winner will receive the Westminster Medal in memory of SET for Britain's original organiser, Dr Eric Wharton, who sadly passed away unexpectedly in 2007.

The event has been revived this year by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, together with the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Biology and the Institution of Chemical Engineers.

Dr Douglas Naysmith MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, is sponsoring the exhibition and reception in the House of Commons Terrace Marquee.

Contact and Further Information

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