“Where might my Physics Take me?” – GRADnet 2016 Summer School – Herstmonceux
During the week of 4th July 2016, nearly 50 SEPnet Physics PGRs from around the region attended the GRADnet 2106 Summer School. This was the fifth of our series of residential schools in the GRADnet programme and it was held in the historic setting of Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex. The castle is of 15th Century origin and is located by the former Royal Greenwich Observatory, now a public Science Centre.
The purpose of the GRADnet residential schools is to give Physics Postgraduate Researchers in the SEPnet region the opportunity to experience opportunities and challenges outside of academia. They give them the chance to interact with employers from leading organisations through interactive workshops, presentations and poster sessions. They explore how the skills developed by Physics PGRs can be applied to solve problems encountered in the commercial world.
The programme consisted of the “Consultancy Challenge”, a competition where students take on the role of consultants to propose solutions to problems encountered by companies. Amec Foster Wheeler, Chomko & Rosier, Observatory Science Centre, and InSync Technology presented the students with a set of problems they need help solving, and the students formed teams to propose solutions. The posters with their solutions from the teams are here.
There were modules on Public Engagement, led by Rowena Fletcher-Wood of Things We Don’t Know, followed by a “Pub Quiz” to push the problem solving skills to the limit and think about how to communicate science in new ways. The next day Dr Becky Parker, Director of the Institute for Research in Schools, gave a stimulating talk on how Physics researchers could work with schools to engage them in their research, to inspire school students to become involved in cutting edge research.
Workshops from Airbus, NPL, CAST, AkzoNobel, the Met Office, and MR Solutions gave insights into challenges faced in the commercial world and how Physics skills can be applied to address them.
Key topics covered by other speakers included Intellectual Property by Julian Potter of JW Thompson, and Ethics in Research by Paul Stephenson of the University of Surrey, explored via case studies of ethical issues researchers are likely to encounter.
All in all, a packed programme that our students thoroughly enjoyed and valued.
Prizes for Posters and the Consultancy Challenge
- 1st: Sarah Bentley, University of Reading
- 2nd: Lotfi Achiri, University of Surrey
- Joint 3rd: Andrew Lawson, University of Southampton and Tomas Navickas, University of Sussex
- Gemma Chapman, University of Surrey
- Michael Everson, University of Kent
- Heather McAslan, University of Sussex
- Shaun Read, University of Hertfordshire
- Chris Hayes, University of Hertfordshire
- Tom Vaughan, Royal Holloway University of London
- Oliver Winston, University of Sussex
- Tingting Zhang, Queen Mary University of London
- Andrea Fortini, University of Surrey
- Anthony Preston, University of Southampton
- Gabriel Secheli, University of Surrey
- Jesus Rubio-Jimenez, University of Sussex
- Sarah Bentley, University of Reading
- Ryan Perera, University of Surrey
- Tugba Buyukbese, University of Sussex
- Ryan Cheale, University of Hertfordshire
- James Kneller, Queen Mary University of London
- Tom Peach, University of Surrey
Photographs of the week are available below: