Research Spotlight

3rd March 2019

Toxic learning: The neuroscience of drug addiction

exAulaPics

I just got back from the swimming pool. When I was in the pool, I very vividly recalled my memories from my childhood when I used to swim competitively. Why did this distant, abstract experience feel so powerfully familiar? As I finished pondering this bizarre feeling, it occurred that I had been (thankfully) swimming without […]

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24th February 2019

The Conflicting Realities of Parenting with Psychosis

psychosis

I am a student in my 20s without any children or dependents. You could argue that there is no role in life granted more freedom than mine. In my position, you have the flexibility to choose how you spend your time and who you spend it with. You can spontaneously choose to meet a friend […]

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17th February 2019

AI + Entertainment: A tale of bridging two creativities

mayur 1

Look at the image above. What do you think about this artwork? Any clue how much does this cost? Hold your heart, my friend, as it was auctioned for just $432,500. You might be wondering if the painting is embellished with riches of all sorts but no, it’s the painter who attracted this huge price […]

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11th February 2019

Enzymes: The Magic Wand of Life

Figure 2. Enzymes helping to digest food in the mouth. 'E' here stands for enzyme

At various facets of life, I came across many who looked at me in awe when I tell them that I study Chemistry, because it is considered to be a subject that is difficult to understand easily and complicated to learn. However, many are unaware that there are millions of chemical reactions that occur in […]

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27th January 2019

Doing Contemporary History: The Murder of Jo Cox MP

Flowers are laid for Jo Cox

I’ve come to anticipate the response I’ll get when I tell people the topic of my dissertation. It is, incidentally, the same response you might get while trying to explain polyamory to a maiden aunt: “That’s…. very modern”. I know, as historians, stereotype dictates that we’re meant to spend our time enthusing over Gladstone and […]

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20th January 2019

Mostly Harmless: Exploring how our bacterial friends become foes

NCTC12736

Every surface, nook and cranny of the human body is inhabited by bacteria, with over 1000 different species calling our bodies home [1]. Don’t panic! Most are totally harmless bacteria, known as commensals. Some are even beneficial to our health. Only a tiny proportion of bacterial species are pathogens, responsible for causing infectious diseases ranging from mild acne to life-threatening blood poisoning.  Some bacteria fit […]

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13th January 2019

The Continuity of States

Image 2

One of the oldest questions in political and philosophical debates is that of when one state ends and another begins. In The Histories, Herodotus tells us about a meeting of Greek commanders during the second Persian war to decide upon their naval strategies against the Persian fleet, in the wake of the Persian breakthrough on […]

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5th December 2018

Václav JANEČEK: ‘Ownership of Personal Data in the Internet of Things’

Data Protection?

In light of the recent developments in data protection laws around the world, Ex Aula is delighted to present a short video that examines the implications of data protection rights. Aimed at a non-specialist audience, DPhil student Václav Janeček discusses his work (published in the journal ‘Computer Law and Security Review’) on data ownership in the context of EU […]

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25th March 2018

Caricaturing Terror

How does one draw tragedy? How can terror be depicted without trivialising the sorrow of those who suffered from it? In Pakistan terror is not something one can caricaturise, when the terrorist can be present a few metres from you, ready to detonate a bomb in the centre of your hometown [1]. When you cannot […]

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11th March 2018

Molecules that make you think: using genetics to understand our emotions

The most common question I’ve been asked when introducing my work to strangers, friends, and Tinder dates has been “but aren’t mental illnesses…in the mind? What do genes or molecules have anything to do with it?” The answer is, in short, everything. Each of our mental functions is fundamentally rooted in biological processes that can […]

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4th March 2018

Romance Comic Books, the Cold War, and Teaching Women Their Place

I came across romance comic books by accident during a tiring Google search for a topic for a term paper. At first, I thought romance comic books were a joke – that a modern artist had created them to make fun of 1950’s domestic ideals. Then I found out that Captain America creators, Joe Simon […]

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18th February 2018

Coming Up For Air: 100 Million Years of Ocean Biology

  George Cuvier was a young man at the Storming of the Bastille in the summer of 1789. It was under the shadow of the French Revolution that he developed the concept of ‘catastrophism’. In the midst of the radical political changes that were engulfing Europe, Cuvier speculated that the Earth itself had undergone radical, […]

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11th February 2018

How smart is your smartphone?

  Nowadays, smartphones facilitate anything and everything, from sending emails to facial recognition.  But did you know these phones also have the capability to diagnose illnesses- sometimes even before the onset of any visible symptoms? Neurological disorders affect hundreds of millions of lives each year. Although these diseases can largely be attributed to genetics, they […]

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4th February 2018

Rise of the Machines: The Future of Innovation

‘Artificial Intelligence Just Discovered New Planets’! ‘A New Sensor Gives Driverless Cars a Human-Like View of the World’! ‘Google supercomputer creates its own ‘AI child’ that can outperform any machine made by humans’!   Recent headlines reporting technological developments could easily be confused with science fiction, thanks to very real advances in artificial intelligence (AI). […]

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28th January 2018

The Lakes That Kept Mars Warm

Hundreds of generations over tens of millennia have observed the night sky’s wandering, pale red dot with fascination, but it is only in the last tens of years that we have begun to know Mars as a world. Though far removed from nineteenth-century dreams of sweeping vegetation and colossal canals, the Mars revealed to us […]

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21st January 2018

From Russia Without Love: Putin, Cybersecurity, and the West

Whenever people walk in on me watching Vladimir Putin on Russia Today (RT) and see my notebook full of Russian handwriting, suspicious looks are often given, and questions usually arise – including, occasionally, what government I’m working for. Fear not. I’ve never participated in a high-stakes poker game, nor do I carry around a syringe […]

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18th October 2017

2017/18 Teddy Hall MCR Writing Competition open

The MCR is excited to announce the call for articles for this year’s writing competition. The MCR journal, Ex Aula: Research from the Hall, was founded last year by the MCR and published 14 articles over Hilary and Trinity Term. The inaugural winning article, by Beth Raine, was chosen by the judging panel made up […]

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2nd August 2017

Winner of Inaugural MCR Writing Competition: Ex Aula

The winner of the first Ex Aula prize, for the best article submitted to the Teddy Hall MCR online journal, has been announced as Elizabeth Raine (2014, DPhil in Zoology). Elizabeth receives the £500 prize for her intriguingly-titled article, ‘Dung Beetles: We Should All Talk More About Poo’, in which she discusses the fascinating and often underestimated role played […]

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1st June 2017

The Molecules of Life That Trigger Death

Layal Liverpool, DPhil in Infection, Immunology, and Translational Medicine Nucleic acids –  DNA and RNA – are the molecules of life. Without them we wouldn’t exist but, ironically, they are the very molecules used by viruses to hijack our cells. Viral nucleic acids act like a virus-blueprint, containing all the instructions necessary to make more […]

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