UC Science Radio: Episode 2

Dr Sarah Masters: Making sense of molecules

UC Science Radio Sarah Masters podcast web image

Structural chemist Associate Professor Sarah Masters talks about her work as a molecular detective: she investigates how molecules behave, what they do, and how we can use them to create everything from new technologies and materials to life-saving vaccines.

Making sense of molecules

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In this episode

02:03 Essentially, it's a bit like being a molecular detective, if you like.

03:27 Just think of all the possibilities, think of everything that we could do with the molecules. So all of the technology that we're using to talk today comes about because of molecules and the interactions that they have with each other.

05:26 It's what we call foundational research and it underpins all the other research that goes on. So we're essentially building up a body of knowledge within the literature that other people can then apply within their research to do these amazing groundbreaking things.

07:28 The periodic table is something that chemists use on a minute-by-minute basis.

09:05 Just recently, that seventh row of the periodic table was completed. So IUPAC, which is the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, approved element 118. And so I guess the next challenge, for scientists is to try and populate the next row. Why not?

09:44 We must never stop looking for new elements and new ways that we can use them.


Read a transcript of the full interview.

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Meet our speakers

Sarah Masters podcast bio image

Sarah Masters

Dr Sarah Masters is an Associate Professor in Structural Chemistry and Director of Postgraduate Studies in the at UC. teaches chemistry at all levels – from basic introductory chemistry through to postgraduate level. Her passion for the subject was ignited at secondary school, where she loved finding out why reactions happen, why materials have the properties they do and what happens when chemicals react. Along with teaching, Sarah is an active researcher whose work is contributing to innovations in everything from clean energy solutions to new pharmaceuticals. Before UC, Sarah was a Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.

Learn more about Sarah: Research profile | Twitter
Watch Sarah's UC Connect public lecture: Essential elements – Where would we be without the Periodic Table?

Molly Magid

Molly Magid

Molly Magid is an MSc student at UC. A recent graduate of Brown University, Molly is working on research in conservation genomics with Associate Professor Tammy Steeves from the School of Biological Sciences. Molly is passionate about finding ways to communicate science to the public in a clear, novel, and engaging ways. Most recently, Molly worked as the lead student producer on the podcast Possibly, which answers listener's questions about sustainability using relevant science research.