Celebration of a local hero with X-ray vision
A new exhibition which celebrates the work of X-ray pioneer William Astbury has opened at the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds.
Astbury joined the Department of Textile Physics at the University in 1928, and pioneered the use of X-rays to examine the molecular structures of fibres and other natural products. His work paved the way for the discovery of the DNA double helix and is the foundation for current research into treatments for various disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Astbury remained at Leeds until his death in 1961, and the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology at the University continues his ground-breaking research on a world-wide scale. Researchers from the Centre have been involved in the preparation for the exhibition, which also features Astbury’s impact on modern research in structural biology.*
“William Astbury is one of the great unsung heroes of science and I hope this exhibition will help to bring him and his work to public attention,” says Jim Garretts, senior curator. “His unwavering belief in his own ability led him to develop ideas which now form some of the foundations of research in molecular biology. He had a wide range of interests and I think this helped to make him such a remarkable individual. He was a great man as well as a great scientist, always being willing to give credit to others and to make his discoveries available for the public good.”
One of the ‘Local Heroes’ exhibitions organised as part of the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary celebrations, the exhibition was opened by Sir Martin Taylor FRS, a former Vice-President of the Royal Society.
Bringing together archival materials and personal records for the very first time, Hair Splitting Images – How William Astbury’s X-ray Vision Changed the World will run until January 2011.
Special events and talks will take place at the museum throughout the exhibition period.
For more information please visit www.thackraymuseum.org
*See Reporter 548 for further information about Astbury’s work at the University.
Image courtesy of Yorkshire Post.