In Your Element: Earth Sciences Research Group at Royal Society Summer Science Exhibit
In July 2019, the Oxford Earth Sciences Ocean Biogeochemistry research group (OceanBUG) took part in the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. The group, led by Chair of Geology Prof. Ros Rickaby, collaborated with the medical, biochemical and dietary researchers at the Universities of Warwick, Surrey, Bradford, and Stellenbosch University, to create an Exhibit: In Your Element.
The Exhibit was a celebration of the creation of the Periodic Table of Element by Dmitry Mendeleev 150 years ago. The team used the exhibit to explore fundamental questions: Which elements were involved in the creation of life on Earth? Which elements do our bodies need today? Which elements are crucial in medical studies? The emphasis was not only on the elements themselves but the challenges that researchers face in understanding the speciation of elements and their chemical reactions, which so strongly influence their biological properties.
Prof. Rickaby’s research focuses on the complex interactions between the evolution of organisms, ocean chemistry, atmospheric composition and Earth’s climate.
Ros said “Since the summer of 2019, we have been able to more closely define how the metal requirements of cells of different complexity, shaped by the evolving chemistry of the oceans, shape their productivity in the modern ocean. It was fun to relay this while juggling my mobile phone and laptop in my sunny back garden earlier in lockdown!”
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2020 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition was this year moved online as a digital event. The Society has followed up with the research groups from last year and created a series of new videos exploring ‘What are they up to now?’ If you missed the event last year, or would like to hear more from the group, you can watch the video online here: