Monthly Archives: September 2023


Public Engagement and Outreach Awards Night!

The SEPnet 2023 Public Engagement Awards ceremony took place on Monday 11th September at the Institute of Physics. The awards were a brilliant opportunity to recognise the amazing physicists delivering outstanding public engagement projects at our partner universities. The awards were presented in 7 categories, and different awards were open to individuals, projects, research groups and departments. A massive congratulations to all winners and those highly commended in categories.

Newcomer Award
Highly Commended – Physics Chat, University of Portsmouth

Winner – Dr Laurence Wroe, University of Oxford

Communication Award
Winner – Professor Claudia Maraston, University of Portsmouth

Innovation Project Award
Winner – Discovery Planet, University of Kent

Achievement Award

Highly Commended – Dr Thomas Hird, University of Oxford
Winner – Dr Stephen Wilkins, University of Sussex

Research Group Award
Highly Commended – Astronomy Unit, Queen Mary University of London

Highly Commended – Supernova Group, University of Southampton

Public Engagement Champion Award
Highly Commended – Dr Katherine Shirley, University of Oxford

Winner – Dr Tracey Berry, Royal Holloway University of London

Partnership Award
Winner – Big Data: ATLAS, University of Oxford

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!


SME-DTN Showcase Event at the RI a success!

The SME-DTN Showcase event was held on Wednesday, 20 September 2023 at the Royal Institution in Mayfair.  It was a great opportunity for our SME-DTN postgraduate researchers to present their research projects to such a varied audience and to network with SEPnet contacts. One of the guests summed up the evening saying it was “entertaining, educational and nourishment for the soul”! 

See below for the list of projects presented on the night:

Callum Barnes, University of Kent/Body Rocket:  Machine learning for optimisation of cycling performance using real-time aerodynamics.  The project aims to develop machine learning algorithms for real-time monitoring of aero dynamic drag, allowing cyclists to adjust their on-bike position dynamically for optimal performance.

Anthony Criscuolo, University of Surrey/Leo Cancer Care/National Physical Laboratory:  To develop a quantitative rationale for frequency & tolerance of QA programmes for current & state-of-the-art radiotherapy delivery technologies, requiring the development of innovative methodologies to quantify the effect of tolerance levels & to assess clinical impact & patient outcomes. 

Kevin Doty, University of Sussex/Advanced Materials Development:  Functional Nanomaterials Inks:  The development of scalable ink production processes for functional nanomaterials; Characterisation of printed films & functional nanomaterials and Integration of printed nanomaterials films within device structures. 

Stephanie King, University of Hertfordshire/3-Sci EngD:  The development of a portfolio of distributed condition management sensors for wind turbines and carbon storage infrastructure.

Pye Kwye, University of Surrey/Addionics:  Sustainable manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries by dry coating of solvent-free electrodes.  To develop dry coating methods, to enable solvent-free electrode processing, for sustainable manufacturing of LIBs, to drive the cost reduction of LIBs. The project will combine experimental and computational approaches to develop novel dry coating process, understand how the dry coating process affect the properties and performances of the electrodes, and optimize the dry coating parameters to achieve high performance LIBs. 

Alex McCann, University of Sussex/Advanced Materials Development/Rapiscan: Characterisation and crosslinking of graphene oxide towards explosive percolation in nanocomposites. Explosive percolation describes a phenomenon in composite materials where network conductivity coincides with additional chemical modification of the overall system. It has been demonstrated that templated composites of latex polymer and graphene oxide can form highly-conductive materials. Nanocomposite materials offer a way forward in many practical applications including flexible and wearable electronics, energy storage and harvesting, and strain sensing technologies. Understanding the mechanisms enabling this phenomenon may lead to further application in composites of metals, ceramics and thermosetting polymers.

Thank you to all participating companies and SEPnet partners in this scheme and to RED Fund for supporting this initiative.

L-R Alex McCann, Kevin Doty, Cristobel Soares,SME-DTN Project Manager, Stephanie King, Anthony Criscuolo and Callum Barnes.

Stephanie setting up her demonstration kit!


Extragalactic Astronomy Workshop 4-5 September 2023

Thank you to Dr Stephen Wilkins, Dr Will Roper and Dr Eva Mueller from the University of Sussex for delivering an excellent workshop:  Extragalactic Astronomy 4-5 September 2023 at Herstmonceux Castle.

The programme included:

  • Lightning Talks from Participants: All participants had the opportunity to give lightning (1 minute) talks on their own interests and research with a single slide.
  • An Introduction to Galaxy Formation and Evolution Stephen Wilkins (University of Sussex)
  • Modelling the spectral energy distributions of galaxies: Stephen Wilkins (University of Sussex), Will Roper (University of Sussex)
  • Modelling the spectral energy distributions of galaxies: Stephen Wilkins (University of Sussex), Will Roper (University of Sussex)
  • An introduction to galaxy formation simulations with SWIFT: Will Roper (University of Sussex)
  • The Future of Cosmology Missions: Eva Mueller (University of Sussex)
  • An introduction to galaxy formation simulations with SWIFT: Will Roper (University of Sussex)

Delegates were given a private tour of the Observatory Science Centre and time to explore the  beautiful grounds.  An added bonus was seeing the Milky Way! (Night sky photo courtesy of Louise Seeyav, University of Sussex)


Thank you to Jo Harris and her team at the Observatory Science Centre for the private tour of the centre for our SEPnet PGRs.