2nd August 2017

Winner of Inaugural MCR Writing Competition: Ex Aula

Screenshot 2017-08-02 23.21.29The 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 by dung beetles in reusing waste.

Ex Aula was started by the MCR (Middle Common Room, the College’s postgraduate student body) in January this year, as a new initiative to share and publicise more of the research being carried out by its members, in a wide variety of different subject areas. All the journal articles are aimed at non-specialist readers, and give a quick introduction to some aspect of the writer’s research area.

To date, 14 Ex Aula articles have been published and a judging panel of St Edmund Hall SCR members Dr Emily Winkler (photo: middle), Dr Linda Yueh, and Professor Paul Skokowski had the difficult task of selecting the winner. The panel explained their decision as follows: “The title of the essay hooks the reader from the start. The entry’s coverage is expansive, ranging from ancient Egypt to Australian cattle. The colourful descriptions keep the reader engaged and informed about an important research area. As one judge put it, ‘What’s not to like!’ This year’s winner was chosen because the essay epitomises the aim of the prize, which is to make research accessible to a wider audience and more relevant to people’s lives.”


DPhil students Tim Donnison (photo: left) and Trent Taylor (photo: right) are the founders and editors of Ex Aula, and are already looking forward to encouraging more submissions in the next academic year and continuing to build the readership of the journal. “We both feel that the inaugural year for Ex Aula went tremendously well,” said Tim, “with all the published articles being accessible, interesting and covering a range of subject areas.”

Recent Research Highlights

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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