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Dinosaurs and X-Ray Beams


The lunchtime seminar at work today wasn’t exactly about monsters and aliens but it was absolutely nonetheless. Dr Richard Abel (Lecturer in Palaeobiology and Musculoskeletal Sciences at Imperial College in London) visited and explained not just how he has used computer tomography (CT) scanning to understand the structure of dinosaur bones without damaging but all sorts of other fascinating things, including the controlled fluid velocity of water flowing through a hammerhead shark’s nostrils (which is how they manage to detect underwater scents in such tiny concentrations) and a demonstration of how 3D printing of the scanned data produces a tangible way to interact with the kind of information he is discovering about fetal and infant bone development.

Best of all, despite being rooted in very advanced scientific techniques, he managed to communicate it in a way that didn’t leave me feeling that 95% of it was going over my head. An excellent speaker who I’d gladly listen to again and a brilliant cap to the Trinity term’s programme of talks.

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