Science 2 P9


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Science 2 P9

  1. 1. REDBRICK 1303 / 2ND FEBRUARY Features 9 Weird Science A Day in the Life of... Past, ‘Polonium’ and Future A Catholic Student Ravinder Kaur explores a world of for some time. However, spies, sushi and suspicious sub- its recent and highly publicised role in the by Paul McMaster suspicious death of the stances former KGB officer has meant it is now being considered with renewed vigour. The substance, historically called Radium F, is not only easily diluted in solutes such as wine, but is also undetectable outside its container Simon Bishop and notoriously hard for doctors to identify – all on why science ideal attributes of a radioactive poison. is more than Fortunately, the amounts required to ready to speak poison someone are very large and would out have to be man-made from particle accelera- The University chaplaincy Photo: Olly Moss TWO years ago, I att- tors or nuclear reactors ended my first Red- – equipment we can all I HAVE been a Catholic tice, by praying regu- brick meeting. It was a be grateful is not avail- all my life; I was bap- larly, reading the chance to meet some of able in your average tised a Catholic, and scriptures, doing good the then staff and sign basement. went to a Catholic pri- works, and trying to up to a department or Although signifi- mary school. However, help the less fortunate three. The room was cantly more complex I was never particular- in society. However, full of excited faces, than ‘Del-Boy’ style ly religious and did despite the constant eager to get their name dealings from the back not get confirmed like difficulties of leading in print and show the of a white van, as for most Catholics in my a Christian life, it is world their talent. In most products, a black area, Tyne and Wear, still, I believe, a much the anticipation before market also exists for at 13. I became a prac- better, happier life, to the editor addressed us radioactive substances. tising Catholic at the be filled by the grace all, I began chatting The Litvinenko allega- age of 15 when I final- of the Holy Spirit, and with my neighbour. Silent killer - sushi Photo: Anna Samuel tions have placed this ly realised God’s word, to have that inspira- “So,” she began, trade under intense and my faith has been tion from God and the “what do you study?” “HE sat chatting to the not only do we all natu- probing. Since 1995, further strengthened knowledge that He is “Biology,” I replied. Italian ‘contact’, fixed rally harbour trace the United Nation’s at University. I was always there for us if Her face stiffened false smile concealing amounts in our bodies, nuclear watchdog, the confirmed last June at we look for him, is one with fear. A scientist? every ounce of appre- but it is also a compo- International Atomic the Catholic chaplain- of the best feelings Wanting to write? What hension he harboured. nent of the harbinger of Energy Agency (IAEA), cy and have been very you can have. has the world come to? He employed hushed death that haunts every has compiled a database active in the Catholic The most faith spe- It was a theme echoed tones whilst warily respiratory physician’s on the unlawful traffick- Society. This includes cific-day is, naturally, throughout the meet- selecting each word with sleep – cigarette smoke. ing of nuclear and being Crosslinks Rep. Sunday, when I go to ing. There was a severe mounting caution. Little To cause any damage radioactive materials. on the committee. This weekly Mass, which is lack of scientists in the did he know that before the substance must be As of last year, the cata- is the organisation in an obligation for room that day. Every- him, camouflaged by the ingested or inhaled and logue comprised 827 which all of the six Catholics. But I am not where I looked, there innocuous looking at high enough dosages confirmed incidents and major Christian soci- forced to go; I attend were Arts students. It sushi, was a silent it has the capacity to of these, an astounding eties have a place and to share in that last was as if Science had killer.” cause significant injury 516 involved radioactive is where joint events meal of Jesus and to nothing relevant to tell Admittedly, this to multiple tissues and substances. and the weekly ecu- celebrate and reflect the world or was reluc- rather embellished organs. The danger posed to menical services are on his coming. tant to express itself, account is my over- Polonium radiation our very existence by organised. It is an Afterwards, Cathsoc shy of its flamboyant active imagination’s is by no means novel, radiation is broadly attempt to provide holds an event. This nomenclature and interpretation of events, being first discovered acknowledged, and closer ecumenical week there was a quiz, embarrassed of its but the alleged radiation by Marie Curie at the apprehension of nuclear links at the University pizza was provided, secret ability to spell. poisoning of an ex- end of the 19th century. attack is considered to and to grow in our and it was all a good Two years later, howev- Russian spy does seem Named after her native be a core component of joint Christian faith as laugh with friends. er, I get to be writing more synonymous with country Poland, the psychological pro- one. Ultimately, we all Next week is the annu- this, introducing some a James Bond plot than Polonium, along with file of a substantial pro- believe that Jesus is al retreat, which is to exciting science fea- real life. Disconcerting- the element Beryllium, portion of today’s ado- our Saviour. All these the wonderful midland tures and championing ly however, the implica- was once used as a neu- lescent population. Yet, Christian societies town of Stourport and my two Bioscience tion of lethal Polonium- tron trigger in atomic irrespective of the gross generally have at least is a fantastic chance to friends, who reached 210 in the suspicious bombs produced by the jeopardy presented by some link with the get closer to those you the final of Five’s lin- death of Alexander US, the UK and Russia. nuclear war threats or multi-faith chaplaincy, already know, get to guistic challenge Litvinenko is far Unlike Orange, the power plant risks, there St. Francis Hall, which, know others and to get Brainteaser. The geeks removed from the world future of Polonium at are still the exposures with the help of the closer to God. All in all are fighting back, and of fiction. Granted, 007 this point may have that result from simply chaplains, provides an being a Catholic at there are some things usually has to contend seemed far from bright, inhabiting our world in excellent support net- University is great, they want you to hear. with more overt threats, but it has since been the 21st century - work, and, as a build- particularly at Science is, of co- such as - let’s face it - applied in areas other atmospheric fallout, ing, is a place to chill Birmingham, as it is urse, in the news all the gun crime that would than mass destruction. medical procedures, and and chat, work and one of the few univer- time, from the environ- make even 50 Cent It was even used as a industrial uses of worship. sities with its own mental consequences blush, but perhaps it’s heat source in the Soviet radioactive products On the face of Catholic Chaplaincy of the MSC Napoli to those dangers that Lunokhod Moon rovers such as food irradiation things, the daily life of and two full-time the self-fertilising arrive on muted wings during the 1970s! to extend its shelf-life. a Catholic is in fact not chaplains. I have also komodo dragon in that are the most lethal Polonium-210 has since Exactly what the an awful lot different made so many friends Chester Zoo and the ones. gained extensive indus- future threat to the from the majority of from my involvement curious death last year So what is this trial uses such as static heath and safety of the secular people. I get in the chaplaincy and I of Alexander Litvin- Polonium-210? Well, control in the photo- general public is noone up late, get to lectures always know that at enko. It is here we with a large enough graphic industry and as can definitely quantify, late and put in the any time God is there pause for a moment exposure, the radioac- a heat source for satel- but we can all be reas- occasional all-nighter! to help and guide me, and I hand over to tive material is to lite power supplies. sured by the knowledge With the secular world as I attempt to grow in Ravinder Kaur, who humans what kryptonite The viability of that radioactive ‘poi- surrounding us it can faith in time at this week explores the is to Superman. It emits using radiation as a sons’ are as difficult to be a struggle to main- University. subject of radiation highly hazardous alpha means of inflicting obtain as they are to tain focus on God and poisoning: past, ‘polo- (positively charged) par- deliberate harm to oth- detect. put His word into prac- nium’ and future. ticles and interestingly, ers has actually existed