Future Talks

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Our YouTube Channel has recordings of past talks.

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 A recording will be available after the event on our YouTube channel. If you prefer, you can watch live on YouTube, but with less participation

6th December 2021 7.30pm “Black holes and soap bubbles ” – Prof Oscar Campos-Dias

There are some instances where the physics of black holes is remarkably analogue to the physics of fluids and soap bubbles. It turns out that this is not a coincindence since in the last years a formal map was established between Einstein’s theory of General Relativity and the theory of fluids (hydrodynamics). In this talk I will describe a series examples where black holes indeed behave very much like fluids. 

Oscar Dias is a professor and member of the String Theory and Gravity Group in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and STAG, University of Southampton. Before arriving in Southampton, initially as an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow, Oscar Dias was a researcher at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (Canada), at the Kavli Institute (California), at the University of Barcelona, at DAMTP (Cambridge) and at the Commissariat for Atomic Energy (France). He does research on black holes and holographic dualities.

Mon 3rd January 2021 7.30pm “Life is simple” – Prof Johnjoe McFadden
How Occam’s Razor Set Science Free And Unlocked The Universe

His new book, Life is Simple (2 September) highlights the role of simplicity in science, and in particular its favourite tool, Occam’s razor.  We begin in the turbulent times of the medieval friar, William of Occam, who first articulated the principle that the best answer to any problem is the simplest. This theory, known as Occam’s razor, cut through the thickets of medieval metaphysics to clear a path for modern science. 

In the book, Professor McFadden follows the razor in the hands of the giants of science, from Copernicus, to Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Rubin and Higgs. Its success suggests that we live in the simplest possible habitable universe and supports the revolutionary theory that our cosmos has evolved. 

After graduating with a degree in Biochemistry from Bedford College, University of London I went to do a Phd on fungal virus genetics working with Ken Buck at Imperial College. I then went on to my first post-doc at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School with Professor Bob Williamson on human genetics.

St Mary’s was as a terrifically stimulating environment at the time where I worked with loads of very clever people but, if the truth be told, my project didn’t go well so after a couple of years I went on to another post-doc at St. George’s Hospital Medical School to study Crohn’s disease with the surgeon John Hermon-Taylor. This went a lot better and I went on to investigate the role of mycobacteria in this disease, work which took me on to the University of Surrey where I gained a lectureship in Molecular Microbiology working first on paratuberculosis in cows and humans, then tuberculosis and meningococcal meningitis in humans. My group now specializes in using systems-based approaches to study infectious disease.

I wrote the popular science book, Quantum Evolution, published in the UK by HarperCollins in 2001, in the US by Norton in 2002 and by Kyoritsu Shuppan in Japan in 2003. The book examines the role of quantum mechanics in life, evolution and consciousness. I also write articles regularly for the Guardian newspaper in the UK on topics as varied as quantum mechanics, evolution and genetically modified crops, and occasionally review books for the Guardian. The Washington Post and Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung have also published my articles.

Mon 7th February 2021 7.30pm “The Cultured Chimpanzee” Dr Mimi Arandjelovic

Mon 7th March 2021 7.30pm “Research into battery storage technology” Prof Peter Slater
Lithium ion batteries are ubiquitous in our society and their uptake was initially driven by the portable electronic revolution. Future uses of such batteries will dramatically increase with the transition to electric vehicles, as well as the need for large scale energy storage for domestic and commercial applications. In this talk, I will outline how Li ion batteries work, and discuss some of the challenges researchers are facing. In particular, the dramatic increase in their usage will have an impact on the supply of the elements needed, and so I will outline strategies to mitigate this. In this respect recycling will be crucial for recovering and then reusing the valuable metals from these batteries at the end of their usable life. Of additional importance will be to replace some of the metals used, in particular cobalt, by cheaper metals so as to bring down costs and reduce supply chain challenges. Finally I will discuss what future generation batteries might look like, outlining what is being investigated to increase the amount of energy that can be stored in these batteries, and alternative Sodium ion batteries which offer lower cost particularly for stationary power applications.

Professor Peter R. Slater is Professor in Materials Chemistry at the University of Birmingham and Co-Director of the Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage. He has more than 30 years research experience in the area of solid state/materials chemistry, ranging from battery materials to solid oxide fuel cells. In these areas he has published more than 250 papers in scientific journals, and has written more than 20 review articles. His present research is focusing mainly on the development of ionic and mixed conductors for energy storage and conversion applications (e.g. Li/Na ion batteries and solid oxide fuel cells), as well as strategies for recycling such materials. 

He is also active in promoting research into new energy technologies in schools, and to general non-scientific audiences.