Subatomic Science

Subatomic Science

Tom Ireland meets the biologists working in a nuclear reactor complex in France

The Biologist Vol 60(5) p18-21

Most people associate a nuclear reactor with physics instead of cutting-edge biology. But biologists are increasingly using neutrons – produced by the fission of enriched uranium – to investigate the properties of biomaterials with previously unattainable precision.

At the Institut Laue–Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, France, a wide range of bioscience researchers work alongside chemists, physicists, medics and materials scientists in laboratories surrounding a 40 year old uranium reactor core. This diverse group is here to make use of one of the most intense neutron sources in the world.


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