Monthly Archives: April 2017

27Apr/17

In Introduction to Quantum Computing

The Quantum Technologies School took place on 24-26 April 2017 at Old Thorns, Liphook in Hampshire. Over 50 delegates attended the residential school led by senior researchers in the SEPnet region. PGRs were exposed to applications of physics which directly rely on the properties of quantum mechanics to perform a function beyond current technological capability. A total of six sessions spanned different directions in which quantum technology is progressing: Quantum computation, Quantum simulation, Quantum sensing / metrology and Quantum communications.

A PGR delegate gave positive feedback saying “the different areas of quantum technology were touched in the right balance.  This makes the conference quite interesting.  A great use and worth of my time.  A great impact into my life and a wonderful exposure for a newbie in the world of quantum technology”.

Thank you to all the speakers: Erika Andersson, Heriot-Watt University, Sougato Bose, University College London; Christopher Chunnilall, NPL; Andreas Freise, University of Birmingham, Eran Ginossar, University of Surrey, Jaewoo Joo, University of Surrey, Stefan Kuhr, University of Strathclyde, John Morton, University College London; Yuri Ovchinnikov, NPL​, Diego Porras, University of Sussex, Alessandro Rossi, University of Cambridge​, Tim Spiller, University of York, Seb Weidt, University of Sussex and Jonathan Williams, NPL.

Quantum crypto with chocolate activity!

Congratulations to the poster winners:

Joint first place: Corin Gawith and Oliver Trojack, University of Southampton.

Joint second place: Rhonda Au Yeung, University of Surrey and Teresa Hönigl-Decrinis, Royal Holloway, University of London.

(L-R) Dr Eran Ginossar, Teresa Hönigl-Decrinis, Oliver Trojack and Sam Berry receiving the prize on behalf of Corin Gawith.

27Apr/17

Schools needed to test new SEPnet Year 8 Workshops – Physics: What, Why, How?

SEPnet is currently developing a new set of Year 8 workshops: Physics: What, Why, How? These workshops are designed to complement the Year 8 science curriculum and build science capital in the classroom.

We are looking to do our first round of testing during May in London. At this early stage we are looking to see if the workshops are successful in communicating their key messages. We also would like feedback from KS3 science teachers.

Would your school be able to help us out? The school would need to have:

  • At least three Year 8  science groups (so we can test each workshop once) if possible with each these groups having science lessons on the same day.
  • A keen KS3 science teacher (or teachers) who are open to giving feedback and building relationships with University physics departments.

Teachers can sign up their schools here:
https://goo.gl/forms/RCR2eotnQKsJhOtE3

This is a fantastic opportunity to connect your school with the SEPnet Outreach programme and have a say in the content of the workshops which will be rolled out across the South East in September.

26Apr/17

Registration Extended – GRADnet Enterprising Ideas Competition

Investing In Your Research, Your Skills and Your Future

To give more time for students around SEPnet to form teams, we are extending the time for them to register for the Enterprising Ideas competition. We’d also like to dispel some misconceptions about what the programme is about and Elaine Hickmott, who is organising the programme for GRADnet, has written an article articulating the goals and purpose of what the training involves and how it helps Physics  students in their future careers.

Which SEPnet university team has the greatest entrepreneurial spirit?     

The 2017 GRADnet Enterprising Ideas Competition is now open!

Are you interested in developing your entrepreneurial skills?

Are you a SEPnet PGR or a physics undergraduate

Put forward a team for a chance to win £100 for each member!

What it is

SEPnet is organising its 2nd annual enterprising ideas competition to help you develop your entrepreneurship skills.

SEPnet PGRs and physics undergraduates in their penultimate year are invited to put forward teams to compete to be the most entrepreneurial in SEPnet.

Why you should be interested

Business and research increasingly need graduates who bring fresh ideas, innovative thinking and who have great team working skills. Physicists have the research skills and technical knowledge to inform policy, improve society and create exciting new products. Highly developed entrepreneurial skills and an enquiring mind are key to building a knowledge-based economy and can give you the edge when applying for research or graduate jobs or studentships.

Whatever career you pursue, whether in research or business, the skills you gain by participating in this competition will be of great value. By the end of the programme you will have:

  • gained a fresh perspective on how your skills and knowledge can be applied
  • understood more about entrepreneurship and what it means to have an entrepreneurial mindset
  • developed real insights into business, innovation, enterprise and team working
  • participate in multiple activities based on real life experiences and scenarios.

The programme is NOT about turning you into entrepreneurs or seeking new business opportunities but to expose you to the world of business and the impact of innovation on business.

You do not need to have a business idea or experience beforehand to take part!

How it works

If you are a PGR or an undergraduate you will need to confirm your interest in participating by 31 March 2017.  Places are limited on a first come, first served basis.

Forming teams:

  • these should be 3 – 6 people
  • may include PGR only, UG only or be a mixture of PGRs and UGs and may also be formed between SEPnet universities
  • if you do not have a team but would be interested in joining one, let us know and we will put you in touch with others

2-day training course:

  • designated member(s) of the team will attend two days of FREE residential training on 28 and 29 June which will contribute to professional development and build skills to help with the challenge. Training will include varied insights into entrepreneurship; what it really means and why it is important, team work and idea generation together with business, enterprise and communication skills.

Please note:

  • there is a maximum of twenty team spaces available, we are seeking ideally at least one team per institution; however, if an institution doesn’t put a team forward that space can be used by another partner
  • undergraduates on a summer placement should agree with their employer to take 2 days out to attend training

Video:

Teams will be required to produce and submit an initial short video by end of September outlining your idea.

Support:

Teams will be introduced to local entrepreneurial experts at your university to support development of your idea. Ongoing entrepreneurship materials giving hints and tips will also be provided.

Teams will receive feedback from a variety of experts and tips on how take your idea forward.

Key dates:

26 May 2017 Confirm your teams by e-mailing Cristobel Soares-Smith, gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk

28 & 29 June 2017  Entrepreneurship residential training for designated team member(s)

September 2017 Submit short video outlining your idea

January 2018 Proposals with market research and business case to be submitted

February 2018 Presentations to a panel of entrepreneurs and business people

Further information:

25Apr/17

New On-line Learning Modules produced by GRADnet PGRs

Two new on-line learning modules have been created by GRADnet PGR students: Shaun Geaney of RHUL and Justyn Campbell-White of the University of Kent. This brings the total number of modules now available to fourteen. These were all created by GRADnet PGRs in response to the phrase “I wish I’d known that when I started my PhD”. The new modules are:

Designed to help new PhD students embarking on their research, the presentation style of the courses is very varied. Clean code is about creating organised, readable and terse programming code and  is delivered as an online presentation. The Virtual Observatory Tools is a video which will show you how to use the Virtual Observatory (VO) tools: Aladin, Simbad, Vizier, and Topcat.

The creators of these and the other modules received prizes. If any PGRs across SEPnet have any ideas for additional training modules, please contact gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk

Note: you will need to sign on to the GRADnet VRE to access these modules. If you are having problems logging on you can find help here.

24Apr/17

GRADnet conference at Southampton organised by NPL PhD students

At the end of March, SEPnet/National Physical Laboratory PhD students, Alex Browning (Surrey) and Héctor Corte-León (Royal Holloway), organised a conference at Southampton University with the help of the SEPnet Graduate Network (GRADnet). The conference on Functional Scanning Probe Microscopy Techniques brought together PhD students from the nine SEPnet universities to promote interaction with senior researchers in the field of scanning probe microscopy.

With almost a year of planning, this conference represents one of a series which focusses on giving students (Alex and Héctor in this case) an opportunity to develop their professional skills by contacting speakers, advertising the conference and coordinating the timetable for the different talks and poster sessions.

The main areas covered at this year’s conference included biotechnology applications (e.g. study of cell’s membrane stiffness); in-situ magnetic force microscopy (application of magnetic fields during the imaging process) and functionalized probes and the interaction with the sample’s surface (e.g. by attaching proteins to the apex of the probe).

Delegates gave positive feedback about the conference and welcomed the opportunity to present talks to their peers and senior researchers and to network with other institutions.

04Apr/17

A Broadband Look into Astrophysical Processes

On the 30th-31st March 2017 the University of Southampton hosted two student-led conferences funded by SEPnet – the South East Physics Network. The astronomy-themed conference led by Peter Boorman, Christopher Frohmaier and Bella Boulderstone, all PhD students at Southampton, was entitled ‘A Broadband Look into Astrophysical Process’.

The primary aim was to expose all attendees to as many different areas in modern astrophysical research as possible. It has now become commonplace for new PhD students to start work in a particular area or wavelength of astronomy without the wider context of how their research will fit into the complete picture. For this reason, the Scientific Organising Committee wanted to give all attendees an idea of modern day research in all areas of astronomy – not just their own.

The 43 registered attendees included PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and invited speakers from almost 15 different institutions throughout the UK. The conference programme included 7 invited review talks on major areas in astronomy, including: radio; infrared; optical; ultraviolet; X-ray; gamma ray and cosmology/big data. There were additionally 14 student-contributed oral presentations and 13 poster presentations, all on a multitude of astrophysical research topics. All poster presenters were also given the chance to present the key findings of their work in a 1-minute ‘flash presentation’, in which they were given a minute to present a single slide to the audience.

Copies of presentations are included on the conference website: https://sites.google.com/site/broadbandlook/home

Student delegates and speakers attending the conference