All posts by Cristobel Soares-Smith

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.

27Sep/18

GRADnet Induction Day for First Years: 24 October 2018

Register now!

Who:  1st Year SEPnet Physics PhD students. All SEPnet departments expect all new students to attend.

When:  24 October 2018, 10:15-16:00

Where:  1 Park Crescent, International Students House, 229 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN.

What:  A one day introduction to GRADnet to learn more about opportunities, to meet fellow researchers from across the network and to participate in two out of four short workshops designed to get you started in key areas of activity. Students are to sign up for two workshops on arrival and attend one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

  • Getting your research published:  This workshop will explain the steps necessary to take the results of your research through to a published paper.  Led by “insiders” from IOP Publishing, it will explain what makes a good paper and why some authors succeed while others do not.
  • Python:  Python is a powerful, high-level scripting language that is widely used in scientific research for a huge range of data  analysis and visualisation applications. In this workshop you will learn how to use Python, starting from basic scripts to explore syntax and data types, working up to more complicated ‘real world’ examples.
  • Research Data Management:  Research data management is increasingly important in all fields of research. Presented by Research Council and University experts, this workshop asks what is required for good data management and examines some of the common problems and issues that researchers face.
  • Science Communication Skills:   Want to explore ways of sharing your research with many different audiences? It is now more important than ever to be able to communicate with non-specialist groups. Whether it’s a public talk in a pub, writing in your department blog, doing some stand-up comedy, writing a popular science article or simply standing on a box in a street corner, this session will get you started. As a future researcher you will be expected to engage with many different publics throughout the research process; science communication is an invaluable tool for this process. Outside research the ability to clearly communicate technical details to all sorts of partners will be an asset on any CV.

Numbers: This event is mandatory at all SEPnet partner departments for new PGRs. Circa 100 students are expected to attend.

Students are to sign up for two workshops on arrival and attend one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

See full programme here.

Travel expenses are covered by your department. Transport to the venue can be arranged through your local GRADnet Administrator if there are sufficient numbers.

Register here.  Registration deadline is 17 October 2018.

26Sep/18

GRADnet Moving Forward for 2nd Year Students: 17 October 2018

Register now!

Who:  2nd Year SEPnet Physics PhD students.  This event is strongly recommended by all SEPnet partner Departments. 3rd and 4th year postgraduate researchers and postdoctoral researchers are also welcome to attend.

When:  17 October 2018 10.30-16.30

Where:  One Park Crescent (ISH), 229 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN.

What:  A one-day training session, an opportunity to meet fellow researchers from across the network and to participate in two out of four short workshops designed to get you started in key areas of activity.

  • How to write a successful Fellowship Application: This workshop is aimed at those students who are considering an academic career. Most often this starts with a period of postdoctoral study during which the researcher is supported by a Fellowship. The workshop focusses on what is required to prepare a successful research council or similar fellowship application.
  • Practical innovation: Thinking about how to commercialise your research, or an idea, and turn it into an exploitable product or service? Perhaps you are interested in a career in business or knowing how businesses are created. Would you like to start thinking like an entrepreneur, or as someone that wants to change the world through innovation?
  • Research data management: Research data management is increasingly important in all fields of research. Presented by Research Council and University experts, this workshop asks what is required for good data management and examines some of the common problems and issues that researchers face.
  • Understanding software for research: This workshop introduces computing concepts necessary to support your research. You can find out more about the types of national computing facilities available and the programming languages used to produce quality research. The workshop offers a general understanding of computing with an introduction to parallel computing along with practical tools and techniques that will help you write and maintain better code more efficiently.

Students are to sign up for two workshops on arrival and attend one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

For full programme see here.

Travel expenses are covered by your department.  Transport to the venue can be arranged through your local GRADnet Administrator if there are sufficient numbers.

Register here.  Registration deadline 10 October 2018.

18Sep/18

Introduction to Data Science Workshop a Success!

DISCnet held their second workshop on “Introduction to Data Science” 12-13 September 2018 at Old Thorns, in Liphook, Hampshire. 20 students attended the workshop and were given a hands-on introduction to tools and methods used in astronomy and particle physics.

Dr Daniel Asmus from the University of Southampton gave a talk on “Astronomical databases & Virtual Observatory and its tools TOPCAT & Aladin” introducing students to the large public astronomical databases, in particular CDS with its services, like SIMBAD and VizieR, and the frame work of the Virtual Observatory.

For the particle physicists Prof Alexander Belyaev from the University of Southampton presented a “Practical introduction into TOOLS for High Energy Physics” where students learnt about automatic evaluation of Matrix Elements and simulation of the processes within and Beyond the Standard Model (BSM) using CalcHEP, as well as automatic derivation of Feynman Rules for the BSM model using LanHEP.

Second year DISCnet students who had undertaken the DISCnet training and 3-month summer placements with businesses and other external organisations gave presentations about their experiences which the new students found very useful.

A DISCnet postgraduate researcher at Sussex said: “Good overall introduction to what DISCnet is and its structure, taught me things I didn’t know about TOPCAT, got me MUCH more enthusiastic about the industrial placements (and thinking about places I could try and apply to).”

The event was a great success and built good relationships between students from different institutions, disciplines and years.

Thank you to the organisers of this event: Dr Sebastian Hoenig, University of Sussex, Prof Seb Oliver, University of Sussex, and Dr Eram Rizvi, Queen Mary University of London, Ceris French, University of Southampton and Cristobel Soares-Smith, Graduate Network Administrator.

09Jul/18

A PGR’s perspective of the GRADnet Summer School: Where might my physics take me?

Elizabeth Swann, postgraduate researcher at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth,  gives her views on why she attended the GRADnet Summer School 2-5 July 2018 at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex.

“I went to the GRADnet summer school because I was unsure as to what I wanted to do after I graduated from my PhD. I didn’t know if I wanted to stay in academia or leave research and was worried that if I left academia I wouldn’t find a job that was interesting or suited towards the way I like to work.

Attending the Summer School changed that for me. Meeting many physics PhD graduates now working for different companies such as NVIDIA, Deloitte and Kindred Group opened my eyes to the opportunities available for a PhD students leaving academia.

What I enjoyed most was the honest stories of the employers who didn’t use the sessions as opportunities to promote their companies, but to recount their own experiences of moving from a PhD into a more traditional workplace environment, and to give advice on how best to make that transition.

We also had a workshops on ethics, consultancy challenges, how best to write an academic or non-academic CV, and a plethora of careers information. I feel now that whatever I choose to do after I graduate I am much more aware of my options, and if I decided to leave academia I would know how best to market my skills to a non-academic employer.

I would highly recommend this summer school to any physics PhD student, particularly if they are unsure as to what they want to do after they graduate and even if they are sure they want to stay in academia, as knowing all the options available to you can never be a bad thing!”

Next year’s summer school will be held 1-4 July 2019 at the National Physical Laboratory. Registration will be open in October 2018.

09Jul/18

GRADnet celebrates at Herstmonceux Castle on 3 July 2018!

To mark five years of HEFCE funding GRADnet celebrated with a  fabulous evening drinks reception in the castle courtyard followed by dinner hosted by Prof Adam Tickell, Vice Chancellor University of Sussex in the ballroom. Over 80 guests attended including postgraduate researchers, Vice Chancellors, physics Heads of Department, representatives from research councils, employers and SEPnet staff.

Sir William Wakeham thanked Dr James West, Executive Director, SEPnet, for his commitment and drive to SEPnet over the last eight years and wished him well on his forthcoming retirement.

Sir William also thanked Prof Peter McDonald, GRADnet Director for his contribution to SEPnet from its inception to SEPnet phase 3 over the last ten years. Prof Averil MacDonald, Diversity and Impact Director was also thanked for her contribution over the past five years during SEPnet phase 2.

Prof Sean Ryan, University of Hertfordshire was welcomed as the new Executive Director, SEPnet in phase 3.

09Jul/18

Another Successful Summer School at Herstmonceux Castle!!

The fifth GRADnet Summer took place on 2-5 July 2018 at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex. As in previous years the school comprised a broad menu of workshops and challenges led by different employers designed to offer students an insight into opportunities beyond their PhD.  A consultancy challenge took place on the last day and students worked in teams to create solutions using the skills they have learnt in their PhD.

AN EMPLOYER-LED PROGRAMME:  AkzoNobel; AWE; Centronic; Deloitte; IOP; Kindred Group; NVIDIA; Observatory Science Centre; QinetiQ; Royal Surrey County Hospital and WP Thompson.

SPEAKERS: Ian Chapman, Institute of Physics, Dr Rowena Fletcher-Wood, Things we don’t know, Prof Seb Oliver, University of Sussex, Sarah Spencer, University of Sussex and Dr Beccie Whittaker, Oasis Academy, South Bank.

Thank you to Kay Pearson, Employability and Professional Skills Adviser, University of Surrey for sourcing three excellent consultancy challenges and Cristobel Soares-Smith, Graduate Network Administrator for making this such a successful event!

WHAT THE STUDENTS SAID:

  • My PhD can lead to an enjoyable non-academic career.
  • My reasons for attending were because I wanted an idea about what to do after my degree. I was hoping to get connections with employers. Furthermore, I wanted to meet friends from previous events again. Even though I come from a chemistry background doesn’t mean I can’t do a “hard core” physics job. My different background might even be useful to provide a fresh view.
  • The consultancy challenge was a very good experience! Despite having no background in nuclear physics or maybe because it was something completely differently I enjoyed the intensive research.
  • The most valuable thing to me that I take away from the summer school is that there are more opportunities out there than I thought and I learnt to keep an open mind.

WINNERS OF THE CONSULTANCY CHALLENGE: 

AgFE: Team 3:  Ilya Antonov, RHUL, Michael Hubbard, Surrey, Ying Liu, QMUL and Charlie Nation, Sussex.

Centronic: Team 1:  Matthew Russell, Southampton, Sean Lawlor, RHUL, Malin Schulz, Surrey and Clark Baker, QMUL.

Observatory Science Centre: Team 1:  Harry Fox, The OU, Azizah Hosein, Sussex, Vassilia Spathis, Kent and Elizabeth Swann, Portsmouth.

People’s Choice:  Centronic Team 3: Michele de Leo, Surrey, Kareem Farrag, Southampton, Callum Grove, Surrey, Örs Istok, Surrey.

Congratulations!

27Apr/18

No point in discovering new things if you don’t communicate them!

On Tuesday, 24 April 2018, 18 SEPnet PGRs attended GRADnet’s Science Communication Skills Workshop at Queen Mary University of London in Mile End, London.  PGRs experienced hands-on training from Chris White and Rowena Fletcher-Wood who are professional science communicators.

PGRs learned how to write about their research for departmental blogs and articles and how to present their research at events such as Pint of Science, Science Showoff, Soapbox Science, 3 Minute Wonder and many more.

Attendees explored ways of sharing their research with many different audiences and learnt the importance of being able to communicate with non-specialist groups.  Attendees were advised to go and practise explaining their research to a friend in the pub or a café and to extract the main points of their research without getting lost in the details.

PGRs who attended said: “There were lots of useful ideas and tips in the first talk and the second was very engaging and idea generating”; “Both sessions exceeded expectations & highlighted some things I hadn’t thought about.”

Thank you to Chris and Rowena for their contribution and Dominic Galliano, SEPnet Outreach Director, and Cristobel Soares-Smith, GRADnet Administrator, for organising this event.

16Apr/18

Exactly what a PhD student in Condensed Matter needs: A workshop on Strong Correlations!

The Strong correlations workshop took place on 11-13 April 2018 at Old Thorns in Liphook and was organised by Dr Sam Carr from the University of Kent.

11 students attended the workshop and valued the small group tutorials.  Attendees confirmed the workshop was pitched at the right level and was very useful:

“The lectures are exactly what a PhD student in (strong correlations) condensed matter physics needs from the beginning and provides a networking opportunity for students from other institutions.”

The best aspects of the programme were : “Variation from easy to hard theory, experimental connection, some actual research talks, socialising and soft skills.  It was really nice to mix PhD students, postdocs and lecturers in an informal and small-scale setting – inspiring!”

Thank you to Dr Sam Carr, Dr Jorge Quintanilla, Dr Silvia Ramos, Dr Sudeep Gosh, Dr Xavier Montiel from the University of Kent, Dr Anna Posazhennikova and Dr Matthias Eschrig from Royal Holloway University of London, for their participation in delivering this workshop and Cristobel Soares-Smith, GRADnet Administrator, who organised the workshop logistics.

Dr Silvia Ramos gives her lecture on “Probes in Condensed Matter”.