Joy Leckie is co-ordinator of the ReallySmallScience outreach programme, run by the University’s Department of Chemical & Process Engineering. The programme uses interactive demonstrations to offer an accessible insight into often complex science and has reached 2,000 children and adults through displays at schools, nurseries and science festivals.
The programme focuses on the field of nanoscience, which explores the use of extremely small objects in science and technology. Demonstrations have included: showing how water purification works with a process which causes the draining of colour from soft drinks; the use of ‘nanojelly’ to illustrate the movement of molecules around the human body; and the use of dance to demonstrate how molecules work.
Joy received her PhD during a graduation ceremony at Strathclyde’s Barony Hall on 7 July.
Joy, who is 27 and comes from Sandbank, near Dunoon, said: “ReallySmallScience was initially intended to be a one-off event but it began to grow quickly with the number of requests we had. There were so many we weren’t able to do them all!
“It’s a great way to learn about things that move on such a small scale. In the body, there are a lot of biological molecules, such as proteins, moving around and our demonstrations help to show this in more detail.
“My studies at Strathclyde have given me the opportunity to collaborate with different departments, particularly in my research project. I’ve had the chance to meet many different people from different backgrounds and have been able to build good relationships and networks.”
Before studying for her PhD, Joy gained a degree in Forensic Analytical Chemistry from Strathclyde. Her PhD explored novel methods for effectively transporting objects such as molecules and microscopic particles in nanoscale sizes and her research produced a paper published in the academic journal ACSNano.
Joy studied for her PhD jointly with the Department of Chemical & Process Engineering and the Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry.
ReallySmallScience received initial funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering.