TSI Friday 5 – 29/11/13

TSI Friday was kicked off by an intriguing presentation on how birds see with a 4th retinal pigment by George Brill. This was then followed with two mini TSI talks, one by Catherine Huntley on her time at GSK, a healthcare company that test and produce Pharmaceuticals, the other by Mr Roberts on scientific gap year work you can do.


George kicked off by explaining how human eyes detect light; we have 3 retinal pigments, long (red) medium (green) and short (blue), together they allow us to detect the full range of the visible spectrum. This makes humans trichromatic. Birds have one more retinal pigment which detects waves in the UV spectrum. This UV sensitivity allows birds to see UV reflecting foods such as fruits, nuts and insects that with trichromatic vision may be hard to spot; so the 4th pigment is probably selected for by evolution. Plumes of birds and their scent marks will also reflect the UV rays so also provides a platform for intraspecific competition. George then went on to explain how oil droplets in front of the cone cells of the eye mean that detection of specific colours is more defined so better colour vision is achieved.

Catherine’s work experience at GSK gave her an insight into the process behind testing new drugs and the size and scale of the project behind it. At GSK workers look to test and produce new drugs and vaccines so they can be used by the public; they also work to improve current drugs. During her time in the labs Catherine was able to use some of the expensive analytical equipment that scientists use to test concentrations of drugs to a very precise level. She finished up by saying that the work experience was really useful and that others should look into getting some. Lots of large companies and university departments now offer work experience so you should look into this if you are interested.

Mr Roberts informed everyone about a great opportunity for gap year work called a Year in Industry. It involves a paid year in a scientific or engineering based job where you get great experiences that can improve you as a candidate applying for uni, and possibly secure you a job after a degree. For more information on how to get involved in this see Mr Roberts.

As always we invite you to do your own TSI talks especially the Upper 6th as it is a great thing to bring up in interview. Contact any of the heads of house in person or by email if you want to do a talk.

PAS@reigategrammar.org                    EDR@reigategrammar.org                TSD@reigategrammar.org

Mike Ellis


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