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Physics and Astronomy News


Prof Gerhard Materlik

Prof. Gerhard Materlik wins Glazebrook Medal prize

Prof. Gerhard Materlik has been commended with the Glazebrook Medal by the Institute of Physics for outstanding leadership in establishing a world-leading laboratory at the Diamond Light Source and for his innovations in X-ray diffraction physics. More...

LSST 2014

All the Sky – All the Time: UK astronomers debate involvement in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)

Image: A combination of two renderings, showing the telescope on the summit. March 2011 (Credit LSST Corporation) More...

Spectrum of hot methane

Spectrum of hot methane in astronomical objects using a comprehensive computed line list

A powerful new model to detect life on planets outside of our solar system, more accurately than ever before, has been developed by researchers from UCL Physics & Astronomy and the University of New South Wales. More...

LHC may falsify Leptogenesis

LHC may falsify Leptogenesis

From experiments we know that there is an asymmetry of matter and anti-matter in our universe: The excess of baryons over anti-baryons (e.g. protons over anti-protons) could be triggered by a mechanism called leptogenesis, which is currently the most favourite explanation for many particle physicists.
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Quantum Phase Transitions

"Like melting an entire iceberg with a hot poker" – UCL scientists explore the strange world of quantum phase transitions

“What a curious feeling,” says Alice in Lewis Carroll’s tale, as she shrinks to a fraction of her size, and everything around her suddenly looks totally unfamiliar. Scientists too have to get used to these curious feelings when they examine matter on tiny scales and at low temperatures: all the behaviour we are used to seeing around us is turned on its head. More...

Temperature of nanoscale objects

New method for measuring the temperature of nanoscale objects discovered

Temperature measurements in our daily life are typically performed by bringing a thermometer into contact with the object to be measured. However, measuring the temperature of nanoscale objects is a much more tricky task due to their size – up to a thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair. More...

Massey LT

Harrie Massey Lecture Theatre Campaign

The UCLU are lobbying for the takeover of the Harrie Massey Lecture Theatre to turn it into a full-time performing arts centre, leaving it unavailable for teaching. More...

DB_Quantum_Systems_04-2014

Quantum-generated probability distributions can be hard for classical machines to recreate

Hussain Anwar, Naïri Usher and Dan Browne, together with collaborators at ICFO Barcelona and University of Sydney have discovered a new way in which quantum systems may exceed the capabilities of classical computing machines. In a quantum computer, information is processed by quantum logic gates, analogues of the NAND and XOR gates which power a classical computer, but which can generate intrinsically quantum phenomena such as superposition and entanglement. A quantum computer could solve certain problems (factorising numbers, simulating the properties of a material) much faster than the best classical algorithm for these tasks. More...

UCL Public Policy Lectures on Science

New Opportunities for Science Capital: A Talk by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP More...

DNA double helix structure taken with the AFM

Resolving the structure of a single biological molecule

Researchers have determined the structure of DNA from measurements on a single molecule, and found that this structure is not as regular as one might think, as they report in the journal Small. More...

Chris_Pickard_Xenon-04.2014

A hiding place for the Earth’s missing xenon

A collaboration between researchers in Jilin, China and University College London, including Professor Chris Pickard of the Thomas Young Centre and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has identified a possible resting place for the Earth’s elusive store of noble xenon. More...

Prof. Matthew Wing

Prof. Matthew Wing wins Humboldt Foundation prize

Prof. Matthew Wing has been commended with the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award. Conferred by the Humboldt Foundation, this award recognises "[s]cientists and scholars, internationally renowned in their field, who completed their doctorates less than 18 years ago and who in future are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements which will have a seminal influence on their discipline beyond their immediate field of work, are eligible to be nominated for a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award. More...

Dr Steve Fossy

Dr Steve Fossey- wins UCL Communication and Culture Award

Dr Steve Fossey has been awarded the UCL Communication and Culture Award for Media Communicator of the Year (news story). More...

Shock-absorbing 'goo' discovered in bone

Shock-absorbing 'goo' discovered in bone

New findings show that much of the mineral from which bone is made consists of ‘goo’ trapped between tiny crystals, lubricating and allowing movement. It is this flexibility that stops bones from shattering. More...

Calcium atoms (orange spheres) arranged between graphene planes (blue honeycomb) creates a superconductor CaC6. (Credit: Greg Stewart / SLAC)

A Potential Way to Make Graphene Superconducting

Scientists from the Department of Physics & Astronomy at UCL and the  London Centre for Nanotechnology have discovered a potential way to make graphene – a single layer of carbon atoms with great promise for future electronics – superconducting. The study, performed in collaboration with Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is published in Nature Communications. More...

Hiranya on Newsnight

UCL open letter to Paul Dacre, Editor of the Daily Mail

Professor David Price, Vice-Provost for Research at UCL, has written an open letter to Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, to raise concerns about an article commenting on the race and gender of UCL academics appearing on Newsnight. The contents of this letter are reproduced in full below. More...

Dr Hiranya Peiris

Dr Hiranya Peiris discusses 'Gravity waves seen for the first time. What does it prove?' on BBC Two Newsnight

Prof. David Walker

Professor David Walker wins IOP Optics and Photonics Prize

Professor David Walker has been awarded the Institute of Physics (IOP)
Optics and Photonics Prize for 2014. More...

The supernova in M 82

Supernova in Messier 82 discovered by UCL students

Students and staff at UCL’s teaching observatory, the University of London Observatory, have spotted one of the closest supernova to Earth in recent decades. At 19:20 GMT on 21 January, a team of students – Ben Cooke, Tom Wright, Matthew Wilde and Guy Pollack – assisted by Dr Steve Fossey, spotted the exploding star in nearby galaxy Messier 82 (the Cigar Galaxy). More...

Dr Benjamin Joachimi

Royal Astronomical Society honours Astrophysics staff

Five members of the Department have been commended by the Royal Astronomical Society in their 2014 awards: More...

New CDT in Delivering Quantum Technologies at UCL announced

New CDT in Delivering Quantum Technologies at UCL announced

Funding by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for a new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Delivering Quantum Technologies at UCL was announced on Thursday 9 January by the Minister for Universities and Science, the Rt Hon. David Willetts. More...

Clover leaf by Scott Robinson on Flickr

Quantum mechanics explains efficiency of photosynthesis

Light-gathering macromolecules in plant cells transfer energy by taking advantage of molecular vibrations whose physical descriptions have no equivalents in classical physics, according to the first unambiguous theoretical evidence of quantum effects in photosynthesis published today in the journal Nature Communications. More...

Alma

ALMA spots supernova dust factory 160,000 light years away

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Dr Hiranya Peiris

Physics Colloquium on Planck's view of the origin of cosmic structure

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Cosmic-microwave-radiation-background anisotropies observed by Planck. (Courtesy: ESA/Planck Collaboration)

Physics World Top 10 Breakthrough of the Year awarded to Planck space telescope

A Physics World Top 10 Breakthrough of the Year has been awarded to the scientists working on the European Space Agency’s Planck space telescope "To scientists working on the European Space Agency's Planck space telescope for making the most precise measurement ever of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation."  More...