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2 October, 2019 at Queen’s College, Cambridge

It was a cold and long drive up to Cambridge from Canterbury, but after several cups of hot coffee and some cookies, we settled in the lecture hall of Queen’s College, Cambridge and waited for a long but rewarding day to start.

The Young Scientists’ Journal conference started with an empowering keynote speech by Dr Ronx. She talked about her journey to Kings’ College London and eventually to starring in a TV show. She also expressed her view on representation in the field of science and medicine. We were all amazed by her passion and work ethic and it made a great start to the day!

Professor Kukura then introduced mass photometry, a technique that observes the amount of light let through in light scattering to determine the mass of a molecule. There was also another talk on mathematics modelling for different diseases by Professor Julia Gog, and the example used was the influenza pandemic in the US in 2009. Mathematics was used to determine the factors that really lead to the spreading of the disease, including opening of schools, change in humidity and so on.

After 3 speeches, it was the time for student presentation. Each student had around 5 minutes to present on a project and we were amazed by their enthusiasm and determination and their achievements as we were about the same age. There were a variety of topics covered, including attempted synthesis of chlorhexidine, maths modelling for dengue fever, senescent cells and the ability for virtual games to obtain data for studying Alzheimer’s.

The afternoon started with a another keynote speech of redesigning the world of plastics by Professor O’Reilly. She talked about the use of stereochemistry in producing sustainable polymers, a problem widely faced today. This was followed by speeches by Reham Badawy and Virjay Shah on machine learning and engineering respectively. Dr Sam Giles also talked about palaeontology and the day ended with Dr Lewis Owen’s talk on material sciences. He used an aircraft engine as an example to demonstrate the importance of material properties.

Throughout the day there were many lectures that opened up new areas of science that we hadn’t heard about before, or ongoing research topics that raised our interest. We were able to learn a lot from the conference — not only the knowledge and information but also the perseverance and commitment behind the projects. The conference has inspired us a lot and we really enjoyed the day. Here’s to next year’s conference!

Hiu Yu Wong – King’s Hub

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