Many universities have dedicated student-run science publications. Such publications are ideal places for young science writers to work with or as part of an editorial team, build up confidence and grow their portfolios. But they are also teasers of what’s to come from the emerging generation of science writers.

Periodically, we’ll cover some of those student-run science publications here on The SA Incubator. Today, editor-in-chief Amy Hayward tells us about the new issue of Au Science Magazine, the student science publication of Aberdeen University in Scotland. Highlights from this issue: the man who sees through clothes, scientists who thrust art paintings in particle accelerators. Science!

You can read our introduction to Au Science Magazine on this blog.

A great deal of science fiction became fact in 2012: the advent of spray on skin (brainchild of Dr Fiona Wood), 3D printers creating entire houses, artificial leaves generating electricity, electronic eye implants, and super-flexible glass with the potential to wrap itself around you. The same kind of fiction has become fact in Au Science Magazine’s latest issue.

The theme of this issue, Hidden Science, is especially important to the team at Au as our magazine endeavours to publicise brilliant science that may otherwise go unnoticed. The articles cover the extraordinary that is happening perhaps in our own everyday lives. With an interview with the man who can see through clothes, a look at the people trying to watch earthquakes coming, and a report on the guys who shove paintings in particle accelerators in the name of science (and art history), there’s something for everyone in issue six. We even have a special feature on the passion of exploring, and the history behind it, written by the University’s Library & Special collections centre.

Tim Drysdale is a man with a superpower: the power to see through clothes. We caught up with Tim in our feature interview, after his Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award Lecture, to learn more about this power. Far from being his only research interest, Tim told Au how the Terahertz technology making airport security scanners possible has applications in pharmaceutical and medical industries. Still weird-tech-related, Josh Doyle (@Jo_Do) takes us on a tour from Rembrandt to Van Gogh exploring advances in x-ray technologies that mean researchers can peel back the paint and unearth long-forgotten masterpieces. What Lies Beneath merges the unlikely partners, science and art history, to explore how a dalliance with a Van Gogh painting in a 300 m particle accelerator did not end with disaster, but instead went a great way to refining techniques used to examine fine art pieces for uncovered paintings.

An extra special feature in this issue is our picture spread on the Northern Lights in and around Aberdeen. This was written by PhD student, Kenny Muir, who uses his spare time to produce incredible images of the Aurora Borealis. Kenny approached us back in September with the idea of writing about his interest in capturing these majestic light shows. Upon viewing his portfolio of work, we quickly picked up upon just how spectacular Kenny’s photography was. With such a stunning array of images, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give Kenny the centre fold section. The way his article is laid out, it is possible for readers to pull the picture out of our magazine and hang it on your wall.


Another striking feature of issue six is our use of talented illustrators to create a colourful spread of articles. Vanessa De Mello (@vanchanted) sketched her way into our hearts with a lovely picture complimenting an article about the subtleties of social interactions, while Antek Sieczkowski provided us with charming illustrations for articles on fear of the dark, Bump in the Night, and predicting earthquakes, Predicting the Unpredictable. Cartoonist and physicist, Sandy Gardner (@teamboring), provides some hilarity in the form of a comic about the independent nature of mathematics. We’re tremendously grateful to all of our illustrators for providing our articles with such a wonderful compliment of images and cartoons.

Wherever possible we seek to showcase the brilliant science going on in the North East of Scotland, so our news pieces on the Aberdeen researchers going to the edges (and depths) of the planet in search for novel antibiotics and the local physicist looking beyond Einstein, with a particle that could overshadow the Higgs-Boson, are also especially close to our heart.

If you’d like to read issue six, head on over to our website where you can download your own copy and join the discussion. Our own social media scientists can also be found on Twitter and Facebook, just waiting for your thoughts on science. For more information about Au Science Magazine and how to get involved email

Amy Hayward

Editor-in-Chief of Au Science Magazine