Movie of the dancing molecules – Science Slam of Nidin Vadassery

Have you ever wondered how humans can see? Or how plants produce oxygen? Well, all these processes start with structural changes in molecules present in human eyes and plants. However, these structural changes happen at a very fast timescale which make them impossible to be seen by the naked human eye. We need a powerful imaging technique to see all these changes. X-ray diffraction – the technique which has helped us to understand the structure of our genetic material, DNA, – is an excellent way to understand the structures. Time-resolved X-ray diffraction imaging of these molecular dynamics will help us unravel fundamental mysteries nature.

Movie of the Dancing Molecules – Nidin Vadassery at the First PIER Science Slam

Nidin Vadassery

portrait photo of a smiling young man with glasses
Nidin Vadassery

Nidin is a PhD student in the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg, studying molecular dynamics using x-ray diffraction imaging. He uses X-rays generated by the European XFEL to image molecules in the gas phase and study their dynamics.

About the First PIER Science Slam

After blogposts and podcasts, PIER wanted to tackle what is probably the most entertaining form of science communication: Science Slams. Theresa Schredelseker then teamed up with Philipp Gadow, postdoctoral researcher at DESY and experienced science slammer. In the workshop they offered, five PhD students from various research institutions at the Hamburg Bahrenfeld campus were assisted to develop their own Science Slam. They received one-on-one coachings with experienced science slammers (Philipp Gadow, Michael Büker or Matthias Mader) and a full-day workshop in which Philipp prepared them for their stage appearance.

Logo of the First PIER Science Slam showing the PIER logo, a microphone and many raised arms

On May 4, 2022 it was finally time to perform their slam in front of an amazing audience in the DESY auditorium. The show was hosted by Matthias Mader, who also performed a Science Slam as the opening act to break the ice and warm up the audience for our five contesters. The winner was determined by the audience and their applause, judged by three jurors, Michael Büker, Matthew Robinson and Theresa Schredelseker. It was such a close race, but Judita was found to have won this friendly battle of wits! Congrats to her but also to all other slammers who did a great job entertaining the audience! It was such a fun night!

Many thanks also go to Matthias Kreuzeder and the DESY Meeting Service. They were tremendously helpful when it came to organizing this event and preparing the videos.

Theresa Schredelseker

As a molecular biologist by training, Theresa is currently trying to share her enthusiasm for science communication with early career researchers at DESY and Uni Hamburg.

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