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UCL Physics Hackathon

UCL Physics Hackathon

The Hackathon is an annual event organised by UCL Physics and Astronomy. This year’s event was held during the 5-6 June and pitted the skills of nearly 40 PhD students from the departments of Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Mathematics. More...

Four UCL scientists elected Fellows of the Royal Society

Four UCL scientists elected Fellows of the Royal Society

8 May 2017  More...

MSSL staff

Half a century of space at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Under the leadership of Harrie Massey (Quain Professor of Physics and head of the Physics Department), UCL became the leading UK university in space research during the 1950s. From this pioneering start sprung UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of its official opening this week.


An ultimate speed limit for cooling

How cold can it get? That depends how long you are willing to wait. The third law of thermodynamics, conjectured in 1912 by the Nobel laureate Walter Nernst, states that it takes an infinite time to cool a system to absolute zero – the coldest temperature possible.

UCL-led Twinkle exoplanet mission completes design milestone

27 June 2016

Twinkle, a mission led by UCL scientists that will unravel the story of planets in our galaxy, has completed a key design milestone.  The results of the “payload study” demonstrate that Twinkle’s instruments will be able to achieve the mission’s science objectives.

Twinkle illustration

Twinkle’s will analyse light transmitted through, and emitted or reflected by, the atmospheres of exoplanets in order to give radical insights into worlds orbiting distant stars.

“This is a big step for Twinkle,” said Dr Giorgio Savini (UCL Physics and Astronomy), and Twinkle’s Payload Lead, who is responsible for the study. “We can now demonstrate that Twinkle will have the agility, stability and sensitivity required to pick out this light, analyse the spectra and allow us to extract information on the gases present.”

Twinkle Exploded View

The Twinkle spacecraft will be constructed by the world-leading small satellite company, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), and will carry a payload weighing less than 100kg that includes the scientific instrumentation, electronics, a cooling system and a fine guidance system.

The whole payload package is about the size of a water boiler and will be built by a consortium of UK companies and institutions.  The UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory is responsible for the overall mechanical design.

Page last modified on 27 jun 16 13:48