Category Archive: Student Showcase

Jul 18

Kent students create an international presence for local treasures

The Powell Cotton family were explorers, soldiers, women, anthropologists, naturalists, film-makers and more.  Their astonishing archives and collection form the core of the Powell Cotton Museum (PCM) in its country park, and include the world’s largest elephant specimen and the first room-sized habitat-display diorama (a form of exhibit best known through the examples at the …

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Jul 18

Officer! I moustache you a question: The Science of Selecting Soldiers in WWII

Which type of fine- follicled fellow would you pick to be an officer: trimmed, divided, clipped, line or bushy? Wartime researcher G.R. Perberdy gave the matter considerable thought, compiling data on the facial hair of hundreds of participants – whom he helpfully notes were male –  that went through the War Office Selection Boards (WOSBs) …

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Jul 18

Aldous Huxley – Antic Hay (London, 1923)

Why does Gumbril feel he needs to wear a fake beard to be ‘The Complete Man’? In Antic Hay, Gumbril feels inadequate in his own body. He feels restricted and unconfident, unable to express his true thoughts. When he sports a fake beard, however, he becomes what he calls “The Complete Man”. With the beard, …

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Apr 30

H. G. Wells – Ann Veronica (London, 1909)

How does studying biology impact on Ann Veronica’s view of the body? Ann Veronica, a young girl searching to find independence as a woman in early 20th century London, joins the Central Imperial College to study biology, with hopes of expanding her view of the world. After some exploration, she finds it comforting that science …

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Apr 26

Marie Darrieussecq – Pig Tales (London, 1998)

The main protagonist of Marie Darrieussecq’s novel finds herself inexplicably slowly transforming into a porcine animal. When reading novel an immediate question is raised to us as readers: Why a pig in particular? The pig is not a diametrically opposed to us like an invertebrate or a cold blooded reptile or amphibian. But then a …

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Mar 19

Margaret Atwood – Oryx and Crake (London, 2003)

When the body becomes a commodity is it really yours anymore? In Oryx and Crake, humans harness the power to create life in any form which is of most convenience. The natural is rejected for the innovative. The transgenic organisms named Chickie nobs are just one example of the rejection of the unnecessary. These creatures …

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Mar 06

William Golding – The Inheritors (London, 2011. Originally published 1955)

Why did Golding decide to portray his Neanderthals as largely vegetarian? The Neanderthal family group so vividly described in Golding’s 1955 novel are clearly happiest when eating a vegetarian diet. When they are at a near state of collapse through hunger, after making the long journey to their summer cave, they feast on the meat …

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Feb 13

Karel Capek – Rossum’s Universal Robots (Prague, 1920)

Are human bodies merely machines controlled by our vindictive minds and the minds of those whose authority we are under? At the turn of the 20th century, Western culture was optimistic and scientific advancements were providing society with a faith in human achievement. Darwin’s research into the origins of species seemed to prove that humans …

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Aug 29

Torches of Freedom, or the self-perpetuating promotional power of science

Wake up people! Politicians and corporations are manipulating us. And they’re using all the sophistication of science to do it. Thus is the general tenor of a recent wave of internet news articles and blog entries, illustrating the hidden machinations of the shadowy figures who ‘really’ control our lives. And though the claims made in …

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Aug 24

Big Science and the Atomic Clock

Caesium Atomic Clock 1955 on display in the Science Museum, London, England.

Modern Times means Modern Time! Don’t trust the Earth, trust the Atom! This was the first successful atomic clock. In 1955, when it was developed, it proved more accurate than any other time keeper in the world. The use of stable vibrations of caesium atoms at a time standard was first proposed by the physicist …

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