• Question: What discoveries have led up to your current work?

    Asked by anon-201668 to Sophia, Sarah, Meirin, George, Emily, Andy on 13 Mar 2019.
    • Photo: Andy Buckley

      Andy Buckley answered on 13 Mar 2019:

      A cool thing is that my work can be directly tracked back to the origins of modern science with Newton and co in the 1600s: the questions about gravity, discovery of atoms, etc. directly leads to particle physics. The start of the 20th century, with Einstein’s discovery of the relativity theories that tell us how spacetime really works, then the discoveries of quantum mechanics and atomic & nuclear physics… this led us to a theory called the Standard Model in the 1960s and 70s. And between the 80s and 2012 we discovered the particles predicted by that theory (the W, Z, and Higgs particles), and they really do behave (mostly) like what we expected. Since 2000 we’ve also been trying to understand the true nature of neutrinos… not what I work on, but another big mystery of nature that was only confirmed pretty recently.

    • Photo: Sophia Pells

      Sophia Pells answered on 13 Mar 2019:

      So many discoveries! Henri Becquerel first discovered radiation in 1896. There was then a lot more work from Curie, Rutherford, Geiger and loads more to try and understand what was going on. Radioactive atoms were first used to treat cancer in the 1930s when radioactive iodine was used for thyroid cancer. Gamma cameras were invented by Hal Anger in the 50s to take pictures of radiation and have been used ever since. The field of nuclear medicine has just kept evolving from there.

    • Photo: Meirin Oan Evans

      Meirin Oan Evans answered on 14 Mar 2019:

      @Andy has given a great overview of the main discoveries leading to modern particle physics, which is the field in which I currently work!

    • Photo: Sarah O'Sullivan

      Sarah O'Sullivan answered on 14 Mar 2019:

      So the first published paper on compounds similar to what I’m making is from 1895 and it’s 3 paragraphs long and not very detailed! There’s a few other papers too but no science is very isolated, most of it is very intertwined with a lot of big discoveries in the past. I use x-rays to measure my materials, so my work traces back to William Roentgen even though I’m not doing x-ray research