All posts by Cristobel Soares-Smith

20Dec/18

Daphne Jackson Fellow ignites passion for astrophysics amongst children in care

Daphne Jackson Fellow Dr Carolyn Devereux, based at the University of Hertfordshire, has led a programme of events to engage children in care in astrophysics research.

Carolyn, a foster carer herself, organised bespoke observatory open days for children in care and their foster carers, and young people who are carers.

One event attracted 120 attendees new to astronomy, from toddlers and teenagers to adults, with activities such as planetarium shows, lab experiments and telescope demonstrations.

The programme is designed to accommodate the possibility of challenging behaviour, address traditionally low attendance rates among this audience and respond to specific learning needs, such as autism.

Carolyn who is based within the School of Physics, Astronomy and Maths, Centre for Astrophysics Research, at the University of Hertfordshire, worked with the council-run Hertfordshire Virtual School, which brings together children who are looked after.

At a Hertfordshire Virtual School residential event for Year 10 children in care, Carolyn organised a ‘Mission to Mars’ session to help motivate the children for their science GCSE. A school educational adviser said the children’s’ “thirst for science was definitely quenched”.

The University of Hertfordshire runs a wide-ranging astrophysics and astronomy public engagement and outreach programme, for which Bayfordbury Observatory, the University’s own teaching facility, acts as the hub.

Carolyn worked for the General Electric Company (GEC) in industrial research before her 12-year career break. She is returning to astrophysics research with a Daphne Jackson Fellowship, sponsored by the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

11Dec/18

Advanced Materials Workshop: 8-9 April 2019 at RHUL

Register now!

Who: 1st and 2nd Year Physics postgraduate researchers working on theoretical and experimental advanced materials wanting to learn what each other can do.

What:  A  2-day residential workshop that describes the background science of advanced materials and experimental and theoretical techniques to study them.

When: 8-9 April 2019

Where:  Royal Holloway, University of London (Accommodation at Travelodge twin occupancy)

Numbers: Circa 25-30 delegates

This residential school provides an overview of research on advanced materials. It comprises lectures, tutorials, hands-on computing practice and, working in small groups, students will write a proposal for central facilities resource. Assuming only a knowledge of undergraduate level physics, it should be beneficial to students working on both theoretical and/or experimental projects.

Strong correlations: The session will cover the theoretical concepts necessary to understand strongly correlated systems.

Numerical modelling: This session will introduce Monte Carlo, molecular dynamics, and first-principles quantum mechanical simulation.

Optical spectroscopies: This session will cover the basics of optical spectroscopy, spectrometers and spectrographs using photoluminescence, Raman spectroscopy and absorption spectroscopy.

X-ray and neutron scattering: This session will cover neutron and synchrotron sources, instrumentation, basic scattering theory, structure determination, magnetic structures and excitations, lattice dynamics and diffusion.

Register here.  Registration deadline 8 March 2019.

This event is free (SEPnet pays for your accommodation and course fees) for SEPnet postgraduate researchers and travel expenses incurred can be claimed from your Physics Department.

13Nov/18

GRADnet Winter School 18-20 February 2019: Register Now!

Who: All SEPnet postgraduate researchers who want to develop their leadership and team-building skills

What: This 3-day residential school will focus on the skills required for effective leadership and team-working. Different leadership styles will be presented and discussed. Each student attendee will be given the opportunity to have their preferred team-working style evaluated using the Belbin model.

When: 18-20 February 2019

Where: Cumberland Lodge, The Great Park, Windsor, Berkshire.

Numbers: Circa 25-30 delegates

Core activity:  Columbia’s Final Mission

This multi-media case tracks the Columbia Space Shuttle mission from launch as NASA engineers and leaders sought to understand the nature and threat associated with an anomaly that occurred on launch. Over the course of the mission, managers and engineers at NASA analysed the damage, assessed the risks, and decided what to do. Members of the NASA team had different perspectives, opinions and views about the damage, its effects and therefore the actions that would need to be taken. Leadership, organisational culture, communication, personality characteristics, formal systems and job positions are amongst many complex issues that affected the course of the decision-making process. In the event, at the end of the mission, the shuttle disintegrated as it re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, killing the seven astronauts.

Participants will analyse the case using materials supplied by NASA under the guidance of a consultant. As the mission unfolds, they will work in teams, each team taking the role of one of the key NASA managers or engineers. A team experiences only those events and has access only to information that that person had at the time of the mission. This adds a rich dimension to the case experience as participants recognise how perceptions of the same event can vary. With a combination of team working and plenary discussion, key principles and applications of leadership, management.

What students said about this year’s Winter School:

  • No prior knowledge required. Very useful; I hadn’t considered that organisational leadership would be completely different (it required skills and considerations) to small group leadership.  This course opened my eyes to new useful and practical concepts which I didn’t know existed.
  •  I really enjoyed the programme. It was varied and interesting. I liked the mix of presentation and workshop and having networking discussion panels with employers was useful. 
  • The programme was typically very well run and extremely engaging.

Register here. Registration deadline, Monday, 21 January 2019.

This event is free (SEPnet pays for your accommodation and course fees) for SEPnet postgraduate researchers and travel expenses incurred can be claimed from your Physics Department. 

01Nov/18

PhDs welcome opportunity to meet employers who hire physicists!

Over 50 postgraduate researchers, academics and employers attended the IOP/SEPnet Careers Panel event at Hallam Conference Centre in central London.

Dr Elaine Hickmott, EH Enterprises, ran a short workshop called “Connections and Conversations for Career Success – A practical networking masterclass” which students found very “useful”.

Attendees said the event was “a great networking event” and that they “enjoyed it alot”. Several SEPnet students said they planned on attending future GRADnet events to meet more employers.

“I really enjoyed the event, it opened my eyes to some specific career paths that could be available to me at the end of my postgraduate degree. There was a great mix of different sectors that are looking for people with the skillset provided by a physics PhD.” (Surrey PGR)

Employers “found it very interesting and really enjoyed talking with the students”. Thank you to our employer panel members who participated:

Martin Arnold, Part Qualified Patent Attorney, WP Thompson (Intellectual Property), Tracey Berry, Senior Lecturer in Physics, Royal Holloway University of London, Alex Cote, Data Scientist, Rank Group, Claire Elliott, Senior Research Scientist, National Physical Laboratory, Russell Richardson, Director, RBA Acoustics Ltd, Jason Rolles, founder and Managing director, BlueOptima and RedOptima, Rosh Sellahewa, Manager, Deloitte and Sheela Sharma, Director, Stifel, Stock Investment Company.

Thank you to Elaine for chairing the event and Vishanti Fox, Careers & CPD Manager at the IOP for co-hosting this event with SEPnet.

 

 

 

25Oct/18

GRADnet Induction Day: A great success!

Over 120 first year postgraduate researchers attended the GRADnet Induction day on 24 October 2018 in central London. This was a great opportunity for students to meet fellow SEPnet postgraduate researchers from around the region.

Students chose two out of 4 workshops to attend and the feedback was mainly very positive.

Getting your research published presented by Sarah Whitehouse and Tom Sharp: Institute of Physics: “Good session, very informative, with good pacing and tips!”

Python presented by Dr Tim Kinnear and Leon Schoonderwoerd, University of Kent: “Really well presented! Clear to understand and follow for someone who has no knowledge of coding before”

Introduction to research data management presented by Dr Alice Motes, University of Surrey and Dr Juan Bicarregui, Science Technology Facilities Council: Very eye-opening, reminds you of aspects of data-based research that can easily be overlooked. Very interesting to see the solutions and ideas involved in open science.”

Science Communication Skills presented by Dr Martin Archer, QMUL and Cordelia Scott, University of Portsmouth: “Good at introducing ways to get involved in public engagement tips on giving talks. Lots of interaction to give first taste of communication planning and set up.” 

Thank you to all our presenters and to Cristobel Soares-Smith, Graduate Network Administrator for organising this event.

Students at the GRADnet welcome talk.

21Oct/18

Moving forward for 2nd Years 2018 Training Day: Good opportunity to meet up with fellow PGRs!

About 60 SEPnet PGRs attended this training event held on Wednesday, 17 October 2018 to support PGRs in their second year.

Students chose two out of four workshops and student feedback was very positive:

How to write a fellowship application (Workshop lead: Prof Peter McDonald, Surrey): Good workshop, explained the process clearly and ideas for presenting research ideas.

Practical Innovation (Workshop lead: Julia Shalet, Product Doctor):  I would highly recommend the workshop as it gives you a good and realistic view on what to consider when starting a business.

Research Data Management (Workshop lead: Dr Juan Biccaregui, STFC/Dr Alice Motes, Surrey):  Good!  Ideas heard before, but made me think about it and motivated me to improve.

Writing better software for research (Workshop Lead: Claire Hepwood, RHUL): This was extremely useful.  I initially thought it might be basic for me but it taught me lots of practices I never knew about before. 

Thank you to our presenters and to Cristobel Soares-Smith, Graduate Network Administrator, for organising this event.

Professor Sean Ryan, Executive Director, SEPnet, welcomes delegates.

 

 

16Oct/18

The interface between Observation and Theory in Astrophysics: 17-18 January 2019

Registration now open!

Who: SEPnet postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in astronomy, astrophysics and closely allied fields.

What: A 2-day school led by senior researchers in SEPnet comprising lectures and workshops.

When: 17-18 January 2019

Where: University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield (Accommodation is at the Travelodge Hatfield Central, twin rooms, double occupancy.)

Numbers: circa 30 delegates

The Advanced Physics School on the interface between observation and theory in astrophysics will address how to interpret astronomical observations in the new data-rich era. The sessions will cover theory and modelling relating to a number of current research areas in stellar, Galactic and extragalactic astrophysics, including using simulations and applying statistical tools to link theory and observational data. In particular, the School will address the rapidly developing area of machine learning and its application at the interface between observation and theory in astrophysics.

The School will work its way up through spatial scales from planetary (in the context of exoplanet modelling), black hole, galactic (star formation), extragalactic (with a particular focus on stellar population synthesis models and also AGN), and on to galaxy formation models in cosmological contexts (and the role of cosmological simulations).

With experts from across SEPnet presenting sessions in their areas of expertise, it is intended that the School will benefit students over a wide cross-section of astrophysics. Students will learn not only about the specifics of approaches they may utilise in their current research, but also learn about modelling and simulation techniques being applied in other fields of astrophysics that they may want or need to utilise in their future careers.

Register here. Registration deadline 7 December 2018.

10Oct/18

SEPnet Outreach & Public Engagement: 10th Anniversary Symposium

A celebration and reflection on the 10 years of Outreach and Public Engagement at SEPnet. Throughout the past 10 years, SEPnet has strived to position itself at the forefront of STEM engagement with schools and has more recently begun to start embedding a culture of public engagement with research across the partner universities.

The symposium highlighted the vast array of initiatives that SEPnet has been involved with since its inception with a session from previous SEPnet Directors of Outreach, Charlotte Thorley and Clare Harvey who contemplated the changes they witnessed over the years.

The symposium continued with a talk from Dom Galliano, SEPnet Director of Outreach, about the future of SEPnet schools’ outreach and public engagement with the launch of the new 2018-2023 strategy.

Schools’ outreach will continue to deliver SEPnet’s key messages with the aim of building and maintaining student’s science capital. SEPnet will continue to encourage projects which involve multiple engagements with strategically selected students across the region, helping build longer term partnerships with teachers and schools through activities such as Connect Physics.

Public engagement across SEPnet will now be focused into three themes: local community, research in schools, and consultancy. The symposium saw example projects within SEPnet from these three themes share the good practice and learning that have resulted from their projects.

Martin Archer of Queen Mary University of London discussed his Research in Schools programme which has seen school students across London taking part in research projects and impacting upon students, teachers, and researchers. Vicky Mason, Xanthe Pitt and Nikki Hildesley from the University of Kent and Discovery Planet reviewed the past 4 years of collaboration to bring science activities to underserved audiences in their local community. Nic Bonne and Coleman Krawczyk from the University of Portsmouth shared the exciting new developments that will be taking place within their Tactile Universe project which engages the visually impaired with astronomy research.

In addition to the talk, there was a poster exhibition from all SEPnet partners, highlighting the successes and achievements SEPnet projects have brought across the region. External partners such as STFC, IOP and RAS were also present and contributed with posters and stands.

Many thanks to all of those that attended and to the Wellcome Collection for being wonderful hosts. All the presentations from the day can be found here.

The SEPnet Outreach Team:

Please use the following link and password to access the images from the day:  Link: https://www.paulsteadphoto.co.uk/SEPNET/September-Symposium

Password: SEPN3T

 

 

01Oct/18

Call for abstracts: From Infinity to Zero: the history of the Universe in redshift: 3-5 April 2019

Call for abstracts for Student-led Conferences

Who: Postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers from the SEPnet region with research interests in this year’s conference topics.

What: Two parallel research conferences proposed and organised by students wanting to advance their research and extend their collaborations. The conferences include talks by invited speakers and students as well as poster and recreational sessions.

When: 3-5 April 2019 (Arrival 6pm on 3 April.  Accommodation at Glen Eyre, Highfield Campus.)

Where: University of Southampton, Murray Lecture Building, Highfield Campus.

Numbers: Circa 40-50 delegates

This conference aims to bring together students from all areas of astronomy research. From the study of inflation at Portsmouth to planetary science at the Open University, the GRADnet astronomy groups’ research probes many epochs of the Universe. Students will gain knowledge of a wide range of research techniques applied to phenomena at various redshifts, and see where such techniques may cross over and enhance their own research.

Organisers: Elizabeth Swann, Steve Cunnington, Max Foxley-Marrable, Natalie Hogg, Sam Youles, University of Portsmouth.

The parallel conference is: The Future of Particle Physics in the Post-Higgs Landscape

Abstract deadline 7 January 2019: Submit your abstract here. Once your abstract has been accepted you will be notified by the conference organiser to register for this conference.

Once your abstract has been accepted please register here. Registration deadline: 1 March 2019.

This event is free (SEPnet pays for your accommodation and course fees) for SEPnet postgraduate researchers and travel expenses incurred can be claimed from your Physics Department.

01Oct/18

Call for abstracts: The future of Particle Physics in the Post-Higgs Landscape: 3-5 April 2019

Call for abstracts for Student-led Conferences

Who: Postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers from the SEPnet region with research interests in this year’s conference topics.

What: Two parallel research conferences proposed and organised by students wanting to advance their research and extend their collaborations. The conferences include talks by invited speakers and students as well as poster and recreational sessions.

When: 3-5 April 2019 (Arrival 6pm on 3 April.  Accommodation at Glen Eyre, Highfield Campus.)

Where: University of Southampton, Murray Lecture Building, Highfield Campus

Numbers: Circa 40-50 delegates

Since the discovery of the Higgs boson, there have been no further discoveries at colliders that hint at new physics. This conference will bring together students from experimental and theoretical topics in particle physics to discuss the progression of the field in light of current results. There will be review talks by distinguished academics on the history of the Standard Model and its successes and advice on how to interpret various current and future experimental results. There will be a particular focus on the interplay between theory and experiment and the promotion of interdisciplinary collaboration.

Organisers: James Richings, Azaria Coupe, Sam Rowley, University of Southampton.

The parallel conference is: From Infinity to Zero: The history of the Universe in redshift

Submit your abstract here. Abstract deadline 7 January 2019. Once your abstract has been accepted you will be notified by the conference organiser to register for this conference.

Once your abstract has been accepted register here. Registration deadline: 1 March 2019.

This event is free (SEPnet pays for your accommodation and course fees) for SEPnet postgraduate researchers and travel expenses incurred can be claimed from your Physics Department.