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Penicillin to MRI: British universities' greatest inventions

Science & Military2018-12-06

Scientists Freddie Williams and Tom Kilburn unveiled the first working computer at the University of Manchester in 1948 and researchers at the University of Dundee laid the foundations for the LCD screen in the 1970s and 1980s.The former invention would go on to attract the code-breaker Alan Turing, who would later develop a computer that went on to become the first to be commercially manufactured.Image:The first working computer was later developed on by code-breaker Alan TuringLCD screens are now similarly ubiquitous, used in everything from televisions to mobile phones.These are just a few of the inventions highlighted as the among the top technology innovations by UK universities in a new list by University UK.Image:Smartphones are among the devices to make use of LCD screensOthers include the development of genetic fingerprinting at the University of Leicester, which revolutionised forensic science and law enforcement, and the MRI scanner.Put together at the University of Aberdeen by Professor James Hutchison and his team, the Mark 1 machine was capable of full body scans and was used on a patient for the first time on 28 August 1980.As for penicillin, it was first used for therapy at the University of Sheffield in 1930 by Cecil George Paine, a member of the pathology department.Two years after its anti-bacterial effects were discovered by his lecturer Alexander Fleming, Mr Paine used the drug to treat eye infections in two babies.Image:Penicillin was discovered by Alexander FlemingIn 1939, scientists at the University of Oxford manage to develop penicillin into a so-called "wonder drug" that could be mass produced.But with the University UK list featuring a whopping 100 entries, there are bound to be some lesser-known innovations that have made the cut.Futuristic headsets that help paralysed people to communicate, smart baby buggies for the blind and a toilet that flushes without water are just a few of those to have been highlighted as part of the MadeAtUni campaign.Scroll through the list below to find out about some of the other influential innovations to come out of British universities.1A waterless toiletCranfield University's loo flushes without water and disposes of its waste by burning it. Equably remarkably, it is odour-free and can therefore be used indoors, transforming the lives of people in developing countries. It is already being used in Ghana.2The smart baby buggy for the blindInvented for visually impaired parents at Imperial College, London, the smart buggy has sensors which read the pavement ahead and tell the person pushing when to turn.3Disposing of plastic wasteNever mind recycling, scientists at Portsmouth University have grown a protein that eats plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), much used in the food and drinks industry. The enzyme could revolutionise recycling and prevent thousands of tonnes of non-biodegradable waste clogging up landfill sites and the world’s oceans.4Treating victims of a chemical weapons attackThe University of Hertfordshire has pioneered a new approach to tackling the effects of a chemical weapons attack.5Using music to alleviate postnatal depressionPostnatal depression affects around 13% of mothers. Researchers at the Royal College of Music found creative interventions, including singing and play, helped sufferers feel competent as a mother and bonded with baby.6Liver transplant technologyA ground-breaking study by the University of Birmingham will test if livers that have been rejected for transplantation can be made viable by using the OrganOx metra (above), a liver perfusion machine that maintains the liver at normal body temperature prior to transplantation.7Pee powerTechnology that turns urine into electricity has been developed by scientists at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at the University of the West of England. Pee Power can power lights and charge mobile phones and has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people in the developing world.8Drumming to help autistic childrenScientists at the University of Chichester have found drumming for 60 minutes a week can benefit children diagnosed with autism and supports learning at school.(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

Scientists Freddie Williams and Tom Kilburn unveiled the first working computer at the University of Manchester in 1948 and researchers at the University of Dundee laid the foundations for the LCD screen in the 1970s and 1980s.

The former invention would go on to attract the code-breaker Alan Turing, who would later develop a computer that went on to become the first to be commercially manufactured.

Alan Turning

Image:

The first working computer was later developed on by code-breaker Alan Turing

LCD screens are now similarly ubiquitous, used in everything from televisions to mobile phones.

These are just a few of the inventions highlighted as the among the top technology innovations by UK universities in a new list by University UK.

Hal of UK adults said their lives would be boring with the internet

Image:

Smartphones are among the devices to make use of LCD screens

Others include the development of genetic fingerprinting at the University of Leicester, which revolutionised forensic science and law enforcement, and the MRI scanner.

Put together at the University of Aberdeen by Professor James Hutchison and his team, the Mark 1 machine was capable of full body scans and was used on a patient for the first time on 28 August 1980.

As for penicillin, it was first used for therapy at the University of Sheffield in 1930 by Cecil George Paine, a member of the pathology department.

Two years after its anti-bacterial effects were discovered by his lecturer Alexander Fleming, Mr Paine used the drug to treat eye infections in two babies.

Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming

Image:

Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming

In 1939, scientists at the University of Oxford manage to develop penicillin into a so-called "wonder drug" that could be mass produced.

But with the University UK list featuring a whopping 100 entries, there are bound to be some lesser-known innovations that have made the cut.

Futuristic headsets that help paralysed people to communicate, smart baby buggies for the blind and a toilet that flushes without water are just a few of those to have been highlighted as part of the MadeAtUni campaign.

Scroll through the list below to find out about some of the other influential innovations to come out of British universities.

1

A waterless toilet

Cranfield University's loo flushes without water and disposes of its waste by burning it. Equably remarkably, it is odour-free and can therefore be used indoors, transforming the lives of people in developing countries. It is already being used in Ghana.

Cranfield University's loo flushes without water and disposes of its waste by burning it. Equably remarkably, it is odour-free and can therefore be used indoors, transforming the lives of people in developing countries. It is already being used in Ghana.

2

The smart baby buggy for the blind

Invented for visually impaired parents at Imperial College, London, the smart buggy has sensors which read the pavement ahead and tell the person pushing when to turn.

Invented for visually impaired parents at Imperial College, London, the smart buggy has sensors which read the pavement ahead and tell the person pushing when to turn.

3

Disposing of plastic waste

Never mind recycling, scientists at Portsmouth University have grown a protein that eats plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), much used in the food and drinks industry. The enzyme could revolutionise recycling and prevent thousands of tonnes of non-biodegradable waste clogging up landfill sites and the world’s oceans.

Never mind recycling, scientists at Portsmouth University have grown a protein that eats plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), much used in the food and drinks industry. The enzyme could revolutionise recycling and prevent thousands of tonnes of non-biodegradable waste clogging up landfill sites and the world’s oceans.

4

Treating victims of a chemical weapons attack

The University of Hertfordshire has pioneered a new approach to tackling the effects of a chemical weapons attack.

The University of Hertfordshire has pioneered a new approach to tackling the effects of a chemical weapons attack.

5

Using music to alleviate postnatal depression

Postnatal depression affects around 13% of mothers. Researchers at the Royal College of Music found creative interventions, including singing and play, helped sufferers feel competent as a mother and bonded with baby.

Postnatal depression affects around 13% of mothers. Researchers at the Royal College of Music found creative interventions, including singing and play, helped sufferers feel competent as a mother and bonded with baby.

6

Liver transplant technology

A ground-breaking study by the University of Birmingham will test if livers that have been rejected for transplantation can be made viable by using the OrganOx metra (above), a liver perfusion machine that maintains the liver at normal body temperature prior to transplantation.

A ground-breaking study by the University of Birmingham will test if livers that have been rejected for transplantation can be made viable by using the OrganOx metra (above), a liver perfusion machine that maintains the liver at normal body temperature prior to transplantation.

7

Pee power

Technology that turns urine into electricity has been developed by scientists at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at the University of the West of England. Pee Power can power lights and charge mobile phones and has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people in the developing world.

Technology that turns urine into electricity has been developed by scientists at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at the University of the West of England. Pee Power can power lights and charge mobile phones and has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people in the developing world.

8

Drumming to help autistic children

Scientists at the University of Chichester have found drumming for 60 minutes a week can benefit children diagnosed with autism and supports learning at school.

Scientists at the University of Chichester have found drumming for 60 minutes a week can benefit children diagnosed with autism and supports learning at school.

(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

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