Sara, a 3rd year Theoretical Physics student from Germany, explains how she enjoyed learning foreign languages at the University of Edinburgh, and reflects on how this could help her in her future physics career
by Liana Ahmed
Last summer I was given the incredible opportunity to intern with the School of Physics and Astronomy’s Equality and Diversity (E&D) team to develop their new website and wiki.
As this was my first ever job as a developer, I came into it not really knowing what to expect. Being a bisexual woman of colour, however, I understood the sheer importance of having a strong E&D presence in any institution, especially when it involves a field that has traditionally lacked diversity. Therefore, it was truly refreshing to see how much the School’s team were taking direct responsibility to change this fact.
MSc Science Communication and Public Engagement students Anna Purdue, Hanyue Sun and Jiazhuo Lin interviewed School of Physics and Astronomy researcher Prof Cait MacPhee.
Tell us about your research. How does it link to ice cream?
We are studying a biofilm formed by a very common microbe called Bacillus subtilis. We’re interested in the fact that it’s basically waterproof. We discovered the protein that makes this biofilm water repellent, and it does this by going to an interface between liquid and air and forming a film. Ice cream contains air bubbles which make it lighter and easier to scoop. It also contains oil (fat) and ice crystals. The protein we found goes to the surface of the ice crystals, the surface of the air bubbles and the surface of the oil droplets and stabilises all of them. By doing this you can slow the melting down of the ice cream! Continue reading “The physics of biofilms and ice cream”