Reflections on my Research Image

Christopher Emersic is Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences. Here, he reflects upon his shortlisted image in the 2015 Research Image Awards.

What inspired you to take part in the PSRS 2015 Image Competition?
After being asked, it became apparent it was an opportunity to reach out to the public about our research which, in time, will benefit them directly.

How did you capture your research in your image?
The image was captured under a microscope. The size scale of the phenomena we’re looking at can only be seen in detail under the microscope.

What message did you try to tell through your image?
The image illustrates the wide range of spatial scales that impact everyday activities. In the case of improving technology on something the scale of an aircraft, we need to look closely at physics occurring on the microscopic scale.

Where did you get the inspiration for your image?
This image was particularly photogenic when we captured it and thus it was immediately a candidate for submission.

How did interpret the theme "Research in Action"?
Research in action to me meant research that was being be applied to everyday activities that affect daily lives, and that we are working on science which will influence transport was all the more relevant.

How do you think that your image demonstrates "Research in Action"?
While travelling on aircraft is the most obviously dynamic aspect associated with our research, there are lots of active processes occurring at different scales which are dynamic and need understanding. Our research is continuously feeding back to our industry partners and the aerospace industry as a whole, and the consequences are actively shaping progress.

How did you integrate your caption with your image?
Explaining complex research in lay terms is difficult. The caption provided a simple step by step approach that led the reader from the microscale of the image to its implication on the larger scale and the bigger general aims of the research.

What additional message did you want your caption to give?
I wanted to caption to additionally provide the reader with an understanding that there is a clear logical pathway in approaching a solution to a problem. The caption outlined the origin of the problem, and the subsequent approach to a solution.