Leafy West London. It’s not the kind of setting you’d expect to find such extreme research. But there, deep within the Imperial College campus, a lab is breaking bones and snapping ligaments to understand the risks posed to the human body during an explosion.
The Blast group is a true multidisciplinary research team, a collaboration where soldiers meet civilians, clinicians meet physicists, and engineers meet materials scientists. Each brings their own expertise, needs, and perspectives. Using specialized equipment to push the body to its limits, they document every aspect of its destruction. Every shattering experiment is a step closer to life-saving technologies.
Inside Knowledge is a blog written by four Science Communication students at Imperial that will aim to delve into the heart of this scientific investigation. So much emphasis is placed on the end product of science: the published, peer-reviewed article. Yet with the personalities disentangled from the results, journal articles paint an incomplete picture.
Instead, we will focus on what goes on behind closed doors in the Blast lab – the sights and sounds of research, and the people involved. We will tell you about what we’ve found out through videos, photos and podcasts, and each month a feature will highlight a unique aspect of this unusual research group.
Suppose we snooped around the Blast laboratory to try to find out something about the scientists that work there. Would our covert operation give us the answers we were after? Not exactly. It seems that even the sneakiest look around will only raise more questions :
The menacing, bulky piece of machinery in the Blast lab hints at the explosive science done within, but it can’t tell the stories of how the research is done. After all, the equipment itself will never tell how often it’s used, or how many hours are needed to make an experiment work.
To gain that level of understanding, you have to dig deeper, and meet the people who turn experiments and data into science. These voices can explain the emotional component of research, like fighting through the times when endless experiments go wrong before one, just one, goes right.
There are people behind the lifeless science paper. Inside Knowledge will introduce you to them.
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