UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


Thinking About Science Episode 5

22 November 2012

Biological Complexity and Structural Biology

Prof Stephen Curry (Imperial College London)

Interviewed by Dr Emma Tobin, STS UCL Interview Date Monday 19th November 2012

In this episode, Emma Tobin talks to Prof. Stephen Curry (Imperial) about biological complexity in Structural Biology. The relationship between theory and experimentation in the context of protein crystallography is discussed. Stephen explains why "whatever works is what you do" and why protein crystallography requires a degree of pragmatism. Despite this, he maintains that protein structure is well supported by the data and justified by the statistical analysis. It turns out that the mathematical methods that Fourier used in the 18th Century to show how heat travels down a metal rod are now being used to reveal the structure of proteins using X-Ray Crystallography! The use of databases to interrogate the Protein Data Bank is also explained and Stephen suggest that even these databases should be open access!

Listen to the podcast here

Prof. Stephen Curry (Imperial)

Interviewed by Dr Emma Tobin UCL STS

Recorded at Science and Technology Studies, UCL by Jo Pearson
Interview Date:  19th November 2012
Music: Andantino in A flat by JN Hummel, recorded  by Jo Pearson