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Dean of Students

Sculpting light and sound with professor Spalding

Thursday, the McLean County Museum of History will be resuming its Lunch and Learn sessions, which take place the second Thursday of each month.

For its October session, the museum will be hosting a talk by Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) physics professor Gabriel Spalding entitled, The Sculpting of Light and Sound for Medicine and Science.

Those planning to attend are invited to bring their own bag lunch for this presentation, which will take place from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m.

Photo submitted by Gabriel Spalding: Spalding is a physics professor at IWU, but he also spends time working in the UK sculpting light and sound for use in minimally invasive surgery.

Photo submitted by Gabriel Spalding:
Spalding is a physics professor at IWU, but he also spends time working in the UK sculpting light and sound for use in minimally invasive surgery.

Spalding himself describes the Lunch and Learn program as “a very brief and relaxing way to learn,” and describes his talk specifically as one that will “discuss sound and light in ways that people are not used to.”

Spalding has been working on this project for 12 years, and most recently in collaboration with IMSAT, the largest research institute in the United Kingdom.

Spalding and his team “sculpt” light and sound, so that it can be used in “Keyhole” or minimally invasive surgery. Surgeries using this technology would have less risk of infection and also garner faster recovery times.

Using an MRI, Spalding states that through his process of sculpting, he is able to “see where I am depositing energy in order to either see through something that is opaque or to make something reflective.”

With the latter method, conditions such as retinal detachment can be caught much earlier. This technique could also be used in order to perform surgeries that would have otherwise been too high-risk for the patient.

Specifically, the use of sculpted light and sound in surgery could potentially eliminate the need to take patients on and off their blood thinners in order to be operated on, which is, according to Spalding, “the number one medical cause of death.”

Because IWU does not have an MRI machine, Spalding does spend a portion of his summers working in the UK, and typically brings a student along.

This will be the first time that Spalding has been the speaker at the McLean County Museum of History’s Lunch and Learn sessions.

Though the information the professor plans to present may sound daunting to those not especially knowledgeable in the area of medical science, he assures us that this presentation will be accessible, informative and very enjoyable.

He plans to show videos and images in order to make this event laid-back and fun.

Attending the Lunch and Learn sessions at the museum is certainly a way for students to become informed on important discoveries being made right in the Bloomington-Normal area.

This session specifically would certainly be beneficial to physics and other science majors, but also to those majoring in other areas who have an interest in the medical sciences and want to remain informed.

Because of the minimal time commitment that this event requires, one conceivably could spend a lunch break there ­— an undoubtly more interesting, and educational,  way for somone to break up their  workday.

Professor Spalding’s talk, as well as all other Lunch and Learn sessions, is free and open to the public.

The McLean County Museum of History is located on 200 N. Main St. in Bloomington.

Bringing lunch for oneself is not necessary, but certainly encouraged.

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