GRADnet Summer School

The GRADnet Summer School took place at IBM’s Hursley Laboratory on the 6-8th July 2015. The three day Residential School focused on the skills required for effective leadership and maximising the impact of physics research. In order to explore the technological, societal, economic, political impact of physics and of physicists, researchers discussed examples of how physics have made an impact on the world and what the future impact could be. Experts from academia and industry presented specific case studies.

Thirty Five Physics PhD students from around the South East region attended and the overwhelming feedback has been positive.They gained tremendously from the IBM workshops: the Hackathon and Strategic Leadership challenges as well as the other team exercises including building a trebuchet from garden canes.


SEPnet Software Bootcamp

With the objective of equipping physics students with industry-relevant technical skills, SEPnet partner, Queen Mary’s School of Physics & Astronomy, organised a Software Bootcamp at QMUL’s Mile End campus in June. The event was attended by physics students from the SEPnet partner universities. The aim of the bootcamp was to equip students with technical skills needed by industry and provide an insight into the role of a software developer. In this blog post, Sean Cooper, 3rd year MSci Physics student at QMUL shares his experience of being thrown in the deep end of programming and what he learned.


Juno Champion for QMUL

Queen Mary’s School of Physics and Astronomy commended for commitment to gender equality. QMUL’s School of Physics and Astronomy has been awarded Juno Champion status by the Institute of Physics (IOP) in recognition of action they have taken to address the under-representation of women in university physics. The school becomes only the 13th in the country to be awarded Champion Status, the highest of three levels awarded to those taking part in the IOP’s Project Juno.


Physics Outreach Award at St Mary’s

SEPnet would like to congratulate Dr Elisabetta Canetta on winning the Outstanding Performance Award for her excellent contribution to physics outreach at St Mary’s University. Elisabetta has won this award in recognition of her ongoing efforts to build and grow a physics outreach programme at St Mary’s. Just this year Elisabetta has delivered activities in physics including a Solar Eclipse event, Physics Café talks, running the annual physics summer school for Year 12 students and running taster sessions for widening participation students. She has also been responsible for events which explore the interface between physics and theology, including a Physics and Faith workshop, and physics and philosophy. All of these have raised the profile of physics at St Mary’s.

These Awards are given by St Mary’s to those staff that go above and beyond to make a difference and contribute to St Mary’s mission, strategic objectives and values. Elisabetta has also been running the new Physics course at St Mary’s over the last few years and is also their SEPnet Outreach Officer.

For more information on St Mary’s Physics Outreach programme and upcoming events please see: http://www.stmarys.ac.uk/undergraduate/applied-physics/activities.htm


Condensed Matter Physics in the City 2015

We are pleased to announce the sixth summer programme, ‘Condensed Matter Physics in the City 2015’ which will take place at Royal Holloway, University of London on 22 June – 3 July 2015. The programme has been organised by the Hubbard Theory Consortium and sponsored by SEPnet and by ICAM.

This summer’s programme will have a special emphasis on spin, orbitally and topologically entangled quantum states. The programme will include international keynote speakers for each week in addition to presentations by participants. Please CMP registration if you would like to attend or to give a presentation. We would particularly encourage PhD students and postdocs to present their ongoing work. We also have some limited financial support available for students from ICAM nodes across the globe.


OBE for Averil MacDonald

SEPnet is delighted that Averil MacDonald, its Diversity and Impact Lead, was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List announced on the 13th June. The award was for Services to Women in Science and for services to Public Engagement in Science.

Averil Macdonald holds both Diversity Lead and Impact lead roles in SEPnet and is Professor Emerita of Science Engagement at the University of Reading. In 2014 she published a report “Not for People like Me” on Under-represented groups in science, technology and engineering. A summary of the evidence: the facts, the fiction and what we should do next.

Averil has been awarded the international Bragg Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics, London. She chairs the UK Expert Group for Women in Science reporting on the success of the Government’s Strategy for Women in Science, and sits on the Equality Challenge Unit’s Athena SWAN Advisory Committee. She is also UK representative on the EU ‘Helsinki Group’ advising on good practice on gender equality in EU Horizon 2020 programme.