Future Talks

All talks at Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street 7.15 for 7.45 unless otherwise advertised. Licensed bar serving hot drinks, cakes and snacks. No charge to attend. Contributions welcome.

Monday 6th August – Dr Robert Attwood – A small segment of Diamond Light Source

Diamond Light Source – using extreme X-rays to see what happens during freezing, melting, boiling, and breaking

Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron, using particle accelerator technology – not for “smashing atoms” to probe the fabric of the universe, but to generate beams of intense light of all wavelengths – teraherz, infrared, ultraviolet, soft and hard X-rays. The individual beamlines radiate like the spokes of a bicycle wheel from the accelerator ring; each beamline dedicated to a certain range of the spectrum and certain techniques – spectroscopy, diffraction, scattering and imaging. These techniques are used to gain insights in a broad variety of research areas.
Beamline ‘I-12’ specializes in the highest energy range of X-rays, which can penetrate dense materials, allowing full 3-dimensional imaging of processes taking place in metals and rocks. A three-dimensional image may be obtained in as little as 1/20 of a second. Manufacturing processes such as the development of metal crystal structures during casting and the production of tasty texture in ice-cream have been studied, and in the natural world, the build-up of gases in volcano lava that can result in explosive eruption is being studied. The problems inherent in novel 3-d printing of engineering materials have been recorded as they happen, and combining diffraction and imaging can monitor the progress of cracks and the stress around them. These studies generate some amazing movies of never-before-seen processes, but more importantly, measurement and analysis of the processes will help to improve manufacturing, eruption prediction, and even allow tastier ice-cream.

Robert Atwood obtained undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Metallurgy and Materials Science at University of Toronto, studying the patterns formed in low-melting-point two-component alloys during freezing – looking at the results with light microscopes on a cut surface. He moved to London and joined the Royal School of Mines at Imperial College, obtaining a PhD based upon the computer simulation of the three-dimensional solid and gas bubble formation during the freezing of aluminium, as used for industrial products such as automobile engines and airplane wings. Sometime in the 2000’s it began to be possible to directly observe the inner structure of such processes with X-ray micro-tomography, and since 2008 he has specialized in helping the scientific community make use of synchrotron-based imaging at Diamond.

Monday 3rd September – Steve Cunnington –  Observing the Universe’s Dark Secret

Whilst we have been studying the night sky for millennia, it is arguably only in the last several decades that we have had instruments with sufficient sensitivity to probe beyond our own galaxy (the Milky Way) and study our Universe in any detail.  I will give a brief overview of some of our most exciting discoveries in the field of cosmology and the evidence for these. These discoveries have revealed that the large majority of our Universe is made up of energy and matter which is invisible to our telescopes and unexplainable with our current theories of physics. Explaining the so-called dark sector represents one of the largest challenges for modern science.

I am a PhD Student who started in October 2016 working with David Bacon and Alkistis Pourtsidou. I am exploring cross-correlations between radio and optical telescopes and how we can use these to test theories of gravity. In particular I’m hoping these cross-correlations can help maximise what we learn about dark energy from upcoming telescope surveys such as LSST and SKA. I graduated from the University of Southampton in 2016 with a BSc degree in Physics. My research is funded by the University of Portsmouth.

Monday 1st October – Dr.Ben Potter, Reading University – The Challenge of Moving to Electric Cars

Monday 5th November – Dr Matt Himsworth – What lurks beneath our feet?

Are there secret tunnels, diamond reserves or even a sinkhole ready to gobble us up? Surprisingly we know very little about what is below us, even the stuff that we put there! Science is coming up with increasingly clever ways to explore what lurks in the dark underground. This talk will discuss a recently developed technique that uses atomic clocks to measure the variation in gravity that dense or hollow objects produce. We aim to use this in a number of areas from helping civil engineers plan construction works to monitoring tectonic fault lines.

I started the Integrated Atom Chip Group in January 2011 after receiving a prestigious research fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering and EPSRC to explore enabling technologies for integrated atom chips. Previous to this I was a postdoc in the group of Axel Kuhn in Oxford working on atom-photon interactions, specifically tailored single photon sources from Cavity QED, slow and stored light in vapour cells and fast controllable dipole traps. I was at Southampton from an undergraduate all the way to my first postdoc position, obtaining a PhD along the ways, titled “Coherent Manipulation of Ultracold Rubidium”, in the group of Tim Freegarde

Mon 3rd December – Dr Stuart Skeates – Hampshire Fungi Recording Group