Physics News Viewer

In memoriam: Professor Bruce Swinyard

Publication date:

Professor Bruce Swinyard

May 22nd 2015

It is with great sadness that we must report the death today of Professor Bruce Swinyard. Bruce joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy's Astrophysics Group in the summer of 2010, as a joint appointment between UCL and STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, spending half his time at Gower Street and half at RAL's Space Science and Technology Department, where he was Leader of the Astronomy Group.

Raman Prinja shortlisted for Royal Society book prize

Publication date:

Night Sky Watcher

Raman Prinja, professor of astrophysics in UCL Physics & Astronomy, has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize.

Mapping the cosmos: Dark Energy Survey creates detailed guide to spotting dark matter

Publication date:

Dark Energy Survey

Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey have released the first in a series of dark matter maps of the cosmos.

Richard Ellis to join UCL

Publication date:

Richard Ellis

Astronomer Richard Ellis is to join UCL's Department of Physics & Astronomy as Professor of Astrophysics.

Ellis, who is currently the Steele Professor of Astronomy at Caltech, is an expert on the use of large telescopes, including a key role in developing the case for the forthcoming Thirty Meter Telescope. He is a world-leader in observational cosmology, including topics such as the evolution of galaxies, dark matter and the era of reionisation.

Your Universe festival held at UCL

Publication date:

Your Universe panel discussion

The Your Universe festival was held at UCL between 26 and 28 March.

Since 2008, Francisco Diego (UCL Physics & Astronomy) has organised Your Universe, a celebration of astronomy and particle physics. The festival includes talks, panel discussions, demonstrations and hands-on experience with telescopes.

Nanospheres cooled with light to explore the limits of quantum physics

Publication date:

Nanosphere suspended in a cavity

A team of scientists at UCL led by Peter Barker and Tania Monteiro (UCL Physics and Astronomy) has developed a new technology which could one day create quantum phenomena in objects far larger than any achieved so far.

Old lab instruments go on display

Publication date:

Micrometer Reading Manometer.jpg

A display consisting of 16 items used in physics teaching at UCL in the 19th and 20th centuries has been completed on the first floor of the Physics building, outside the entrance to Lab 1 (east end). The instruments were collected over a period of several years by John O’Brien, the former Laboratory Superintendent who retired in 2013, and Derek Thomas, Lab 1 technician, who prepared them for display and procured an illuminated glass case to house them.

A brand new sky from Planck

Publication date:

Polarisation of the Cosmic Microwave Background

New maps from ESA's Planck satellite, forming the second major data release (February 2015) from the project, have unveiled the polarised light from the early Universe across the entire sky, revealing that the first stars formed much later than previously thought.

UCL leading the way for gender equality in physics

Publication date:

UCL Main Quad

The Department of Physics & Astronomy has been recognised as a national leader in gender equality. The Institute of Physics (IOP) has named the department as a Juno Champion, joining a handful of other physics departments around the country which have made exceptional efforts to embed gender equality in physics.


Publication date:


It is with great regret that we must announce the death of Dr William (Bill) M. Glencross.

Bill was a long-standing and well-respected member of the Astrophysics group and worked in the Department from 1963 to 2002. Bill’s research focussed on infrared photometery and mapping, initially achieved by flying telescopes to the edge of space using helium balloons and later through producing, modelling and testing ground and satellite based instruments. Bill loved to teach and served as the Astronomy Tutor twice.

UCL leading the way for gender equality in physics

Publication date:


UCL’s department of Physics & Astronomy has been recognised as a national leader in gender equality.

On quantum scales, there are many second laws of thermodynamics

Publication date:

Watt Steam Engine

New research from UCL has uncovered additional second laws of thermodynamics which complement the ordinary second law of thermodynamics, one of the most fundamental laws of nature. These new second laws are generally not noticeable except on very small scales, at which point, they become increasingly important.

On quantum scales, there are many second laws of thermodynamics

Publication date:

Cup of tea. Photo: Bernd/CC-BY

New research from UCL and the Universities of Gdansk, Singapore, and Delft has uncovered additional second laws of thermodynamics which complement the ordinary second law of thermodynamics, one of the most fundamental laws of nature.

UCL joins Graphene Flagship

Publication date:

Carbon nitride graphene

A team including four UCL departments has joined the EU’s Graphene Flagship project, giving the university a foothold in one of the biggest scientific programmes currently underway.

IOP Tom Duke Prize Lecture on Biological Physics

Publication date:


'Physics in biology: how to set the size of a cell' by Prof. Martin Howard, John Innes Centre

to be held Wednesday 28th January 2015 at 3pm, in the Harrie Massey Lecture Theatre,  25 Gordon Street

Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) results

Publication date:


The Research Excellence Framework (REF) results were released on 18th December 2014, which determine our level of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England for the next few years.

REF publication: key results for the faculty

Publication date:

Researcher in the LCN

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) has now been published, giving the government’s assessment of research quality across all the UK’s universities.

How bacteria drill into our cells and kill them

Publication date:

Bacterial Nanodrills

A team of scientists has revealed how certain harmful bacteria drill into our cells to kill them. Their study shows how bacterial ‘nanodrills’ assemble themselves on the outer surfaces of our cells, and includes the first movie of how they then punch holes in the cells’ outer membranes. The research, published Tuesday 2nd December 2014 in the journal eLife, supports the development of new drugs that target this mechanism, which is implicated in serious diseases. The team brings together researchers from UCL, Birkbeck, University of London, the University of Leicester, and Monash University (Melbourne).

Revealed: how our bodies keep unwelcome visitors out of cell nuclei

Publication date:

AFM image of nuclear pores

The structure of pores found in the nuclei of cells has been uncovered by a team of scientists led by UCL, revealing how they selectively block certain molecules from entering, in order to protect genetic material and normal cell functions. The discovery could lead to the development of new drugs against viruses that target the cell nucleus and new ways of delivering gene therapies, say the scientists behind the study.

CMMP researcher wins Aminoff Prize

Publication date:

Ian Robinson

Professor Ian Robinson of the LCN has been awarded the 2015 Gregori Aminoff Prize in Crystallography.

Illuminating illumination: what lights up the universe?

Publication date:

Large-scale structure of light in the universe

New research from UCL shows that we will soon uncover the origin of the ultraviolet light that bathes the cosmos.

Dark Energy Survey kicks off second season cataloguing deep space

Publication date:

NGC 1398 Galaxy

The Dark Energy Survey, which has just begun its second year of observations, is gathering data about one of the most puzzling phenomena to be discovered in the past century: that the universe is not only expanding, but is doing so at an ever faster rate. Some as yet unknown force dubbed ‘dark energy’ is driving this acceleration.

UCL cosmologists weigh into the debate about neutrino mass

Publication date:

First Neutrino Detection

The standard model of particle physics needs to be extended: it predicts that neutrinos have zero mass, but this does not fit with experimental data. Recent work has suggested an unexpectedly high mass for the neutrino, but UCL cosmologists say this is wrong. They argue that a low mass is more consistent with the observed properties of the universe. The Dark Energy Survey (which UCL is also involved in) will provide data that could resolve this debate in the next few years.

Congratulations to our E-Learning Development Grant Winners 2014-15

Publication date:

UCL Main Quad

Congratulations to Dr Dave Bowler & Dr Daven Armoogum who have both been successful in their bids for E-Learning Development Grants this year.

Imaging improved by scrambling X-rays

Publication date:

X-ray phase-contrast imaging can provide high-quality images of objects with lower radiation doses. But until now these images have been hard to obtain and required special X-ray sources whose properties are typically only found at large particle accelerator facilities.

Search UCL News