This month I attended a lecture in London at University College London, as part of their series of free lectures, which cover a range of scientific topics, aimed at students studying for their A levels. The particular lecture I attended was on High Altitude Medicine by Dr Daniel Martin, who works in the UCL Centre for Altitude, Space & Extreme Environmental Medicine. 

I found the lecture very interesting, giving an overview of Dr Martin’s work, including his research into hypoxia at high altitude. Hypoxia is a condition that occurs when the body has a limited oxygen supply and symptoms include changes in colour of skin, shortness of breath and confusion. This occurs commonly at high altitude as the atmospheric pressure is reduced, so there are fewer oxygen particles in the same volume of air, meaning that the oxygen saturation of our blood is lowered. Dr Martin has completed several expeditions to study this condition, including up Mount Everest, and he mentioned some of the challenges which come with this type of work. One major issue is funding the expeditions, which Dr Martin and his team accomplished primarily by gaining sponsorship from companies.

Due to my interest in medical sciences, I found this talk very relevant to me and I would recommend it to anyone, whether they are studying A level sciences or not, as it makes for an incredibly interesting and informative evening. I especially enjoyed Dr Martin’s personal anecdotes from his experiences, and the lecture has inspired me greatly to pursue a similar career.

By Lucia Noursadeghi