Clash of the Titans: New Astrophysics of Binary Black Holes from LIGO’s First Observations

by Samaya Nissanke

Samaya Nissanke
Samaya Nissanke, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Date: Wednesday 11 October 2017

Time: 2.30pm

Venue: Rutherford Lecture Theatre, Schuster Building

From September 12 2015 to January 19 2016, the first observational run of the Advanced LIGO detectors saw the first detections of gravitational waves from binary black holes. In this talk, I will first discuss how to infer and characterise the fundamental properties of the black hole systems. I will then present the tests of general relativity and the implications for astrophysics that are made possible from these measurements. With these gravitational wave detections in hand, I conclude with the unprecedented opportunities and challenges that are opening up in strong-field gravity astrophysics during the next decade.‌

From Astrophysics to Agriculture

by Sarah Bridle

Sarah Bridle
Prof Sarah Bridle, University of Manchester

Date: Wednesday 24 May 2017

Time: 12.00pm - 1.00pm

Venue: Lovell Seminar Room, Alan Turing Building, Third Floor

There is an impending perfect storm of pressure on our food production system, with increasing population and changing consumer tastes, in the face of rising temperatures and extreme weather events. Tim Gore, head of food policy and climate change for Oxfam, said “The main way that most people will experience climate change is through the impact on food: the food they eat, the price they pay for it, and the availability and choice that they have.”. Yet, at the same time, food production is a bigger contributor to climate change than transport. This is why I am leading the new STFC Food Network+ which aims to engage STFC researchers (astro/particle/nuclear physics) and STFC facilities (e.g. Diamond) to apply their capabilities to food, from agriculture, supply chain to nutrition and consumer choice. In this talk I will describe some of the challenges in food research and how physicists can help. 

Might you be interested in doing a PhD on image analysis in agriculture from October? If so please get in touch and/or come along to chat and eat free pizza from 11.45am in the Lovell Seminar room just before the talk. Please sign up to guarantee your pizza here

The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE)

by Stefan Soldner-Rembold

Stefan Soldner-Rembold
Professor Stefan Söldner-Rembold, University of Manchester

Date: Wednesday 10 March 2017

Time: 2.30pm

Venue: Rutherford Lecture Theatre, Schuster Building

The outstanding imaging capability of liquid-argon Time Projection Chambers makes them one of the most promising technology choices for next-generation neutrino experiments. Within a decade, the DUNE experiment in South Dakota, using 40-ktons of liquid argon, will start to address a broad science programme.

Primary science drivers are the discovery of a possible matter-antimatter asymmetry (CP violation) in the neutrino sector, the detection of neutrinos from supernovae, and the search for proton decay as predicted by Grand Unified Theories.

Several mid-size detectors at Fermilab and CERN will soon demonstrate the potential of the liquid-argon technology, searching for sterile neutrinos and measuring liquid-argon interactions of neutrinos and charged particles. I will give an overview of the current status and future discovery potential of liquid-argon detectors.

Combining Fuel Cells With Gas Turbines: Using Physics to Create New Options in Clean Energy

by Gerry Agnew

Gerry Agnew
Dr Gerry Agnew, Rolls Royce

Date: Wednesday 10 May 2017

Time: 2.30pm

Venue: Rutherford Lecture Theatre, Schuster Building

Since the second half of the 20th century fuel cells have played a vital role in generating power for, among other things, satellites and space capsules. Facing an increasing energy demand, more efficient ways of producing and storing electricity must be devised. One such solution is high temperature fuel cells coupled to gas turbines. In this presentation, I will explain the concept of (high temperature) fuel cells and describe some recent and future technological breakthroughs that can make them a reality. I will conclude with a short description of the life of a physicist in industry.

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