The Quantum Showcase: for the love of science

Wednesday 5th February 2014 @ 19:00

Non-Member: £12.00 ; Staff: £5.00 ; Student: £3.00

Dr Simon Foster and his troupe of PhD students from Controlled Quantum Dynamics Group.

Dr Simon Foster and a new troupe of PhD students from the Controlled Quantum Dynamics Group take us on a journey through the extraordinary world of quantum physics. Part of their PhD course is to test their skills of communicating their understanding and enthusiasm for science.  An important skill in the cut throat world of research grant applications, vivas and international seminars. We are to be the guinea pigs in their audience. Come and join us.

Superconductors changing our world. Katerina and Jamie will investigate the quantum phenomena known as superconductors, looking at how they can be used in modern technology to change our world. From allowing us to peek into our bodies using MRI scanners, to developing superfast computers, superconductors will soon be everywhere.

Star dust to star dust. Pavel and Ben will look one of the most asked questions, ‘where do we come from’. They will look at the Big Bang, synthesis of new atoms in stars, and how the atoms in our bodies were born in a supernova.

Big Science. Ed, Jay and Andy will look at big science, how big machines, big groups and big budgets have changed the way society thinks about research.   In this talk, we examine the development of big science and where the money is coming from.  Also, we blow stuff up!

Quantum computers - fable or fact. Joseph and Jimmy will look at the search for the next generation of computers and how close we are to the fabled ‘quantum computer’!

Probably. Moritz, John and Jonathan: Probability theory originated when French philosophers and mathematicians started thinking about gambling, and laid out the rules of chance and rational decision making. Today, we understand the physical world at its most fundamental level through the theory of quantum mechanics. To our surprise, the quantum world obeys the rules of probability. In our talk, we will explore the rules of probability, and how they change when we move from the classical world of goats and cars, into the quantum world of atoms and photons.

Atoms - one step at a time. Allan and Paloma will be talking about atoms, and how the incredibly simple idea that everything is made up of them can explain nearly everything you've ever seen. They'll talk you through how adding one simple thing at a time to our understanding of them increases the number of things they explain, and in just simple picture form will explain everything from temperature to chemical reactions to the structure of a star.

Waving not drowning. Frederick and Samuele will be looking at waves in physics. Everyone knows about waves, from watching the sea, playing with ropes as a kid or having some knowledge about what sound is. In this talk, we will go both deeper into the basics of waves - What is a wave physically and what are its parameters? Finally we will touch their importance in sound and quantum mechanics, including an explanation of the infamous uncertainty principle. As it turns out, waves are as fundamental as particles!

Mathematical lens. Dan, Max and Guangsi will be looking at how does maths influence our view of the world? A quick look at some examples of where mathematics has revolutionised our outlook, through explanation or prediction.

Dr Simon Foster studied Physics with Space Science (so he's a qualified rocket scientist) at the University of Southampton and stayed on to undertake a PhD in Solar-terrestrial Physics, specialising in solar variability and climate change. Simon has taught science and astronomy in primary and secondary schools and is the outreach officer for the Department of Physics at Imperial College London.

Simon competed in the 2009 FameLab competition winning the London heat and coming 3rd in the national final, held at the Cheltenham science festival. Since the competition, Simon has talked at various science and music festivals around the UK, as well as presenting TV and Radio shows for the BBC and Channel 4.

Venue: Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Lecture Theatre 2