Faculty of Sciences

Kent Physics Centre

Annual Lectures

Welcome to the Kent Physics Centre. Each year, during the Autumn and Spring terms, the Centre arranges a series of open lectures. The Centre also organises the ever popular Christmas Science Lectures for schools each November, for which we charge £1 per person.

All meetings will be held on Tuesday evenings at 7.30 pm in Rutherford Lecture Theatre 1, unless specified) the main lecture theatre, at the University of Kent.

The lectures are, with great thanks, sponsored by the Institute of Physics. Early booking is recommended!!

If you would like more information about the lectures, please contact Dr Cyril Isenberg, tel 01227 823768.


Autumn Lectures

8 Oct 13: Inside the Centre: The Life of J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER - Professor Ray Monk, University of Southampton

Robert Oppenheimer is among the most contentious and important figures of the twentieth century. As head of the Los Alamos Laboratory, he oversaw the successful effort to beat the Nazis to develop the first atomic bomb � a breakthrough which was to have eternal ramifications for mankind, and made Oppenheimer the �father of the bomb�.

Oppenheimer was a man of diverse interests and phenomenal intellectual attributes. His talent and drive allowed him as a young scientist to enter a community peopled by the great names of twentieth-century physics � men such as Bohr, Born, Dirac and Einstein �and to play a role in the laboratories and classrooms where the world was being changed forever.

But Oppenheimer was not a simple story of assimilation scientific success and world fame. A complicated and fragile personality, the implications of the discoveries at Los Alamos were to weigh heavily upon him. Having formed suspicious relations in the 1930�s , in the wake of the allied victory in World War Two, Oppenheimer�s attempts to resist the escalation of the Cold War arms race would lead to many questions of his loyalties � and set him on a collision course with Senator Joseph McCarthy and his which hunters.

22 Oct 13 GLASS: A Physicist�s Look Inside - Professor R. J. Newport, University of Kent

Making glass is one of our oldest technologies, refined and developed through the millennia and having an impact in all aspects of modern life. From its deceptively simple beginnings, glass has found a place in art and technology: a material of beauty as well as utility. In our current century, glassy materials are now used as smart drug delivery systems and even as scaffolds for regenerating a patient�s lost bone. In his talk Bob Newport will try to unravel some of the science behind glass and to reveal aspects of modern research into its atomic scale properties.

date TBC Nov 13: Title TBC - Professor Sean Ryan, Astronomer, University of Hertfordshire

Details to follow.

26 Nov 13: The Optics of very Small Stuff - Dr Gregory Wurtz, King�s College London

This presentation will give a broad introduction of the optics of metallic nano-objects. How does the shape, size and environment of these objects, or even the way we observe them, change their colour or give the illusion of their absence? These are a few questions that will be answered in this presentation.

2013 Christmas Science Lectures - Tickets £1 per person. Booking essential Tel: Gulbenkian Theatre Booking Office 01227 769075

Wednesday 27 November 2013, 11.00 am and repeated at 2.30 pm, Gulbenkian Theatre

Demonstrating Newton�s Laws On Earth And In Space

Dr Cyril Isenberg OBE, School of Engineering and Digital Arts, University of Kent

This lecture will explore some phenomena that can be explained and quantified by the application of Newton�s laws. These include gravitational motion along constrained paths, motion in the presence of magnetic fields, chaotic motion, the Bernoulli effect, Hero�s engine, the rattleback and space exploration using the gravitational assist slingshot effect.

Thursday 28 November 2013 at 11.00 am and repeated at 2.30 pm, Gulbenkian Theatre

Electricity and X-Rays

Dr Stuart Field, Consultant Radiologist, Kent and Canterbury Hospital

This spectacular lecture/demonstration is a mixture of historical fact, practical demonstrations of static, high voltage, electricity and X-rays & equipment images from the early days of X-ray use. Much of the equipment used has been made in the medical physics department workshop at the hospital.

It is suitable for any ages from 5 years upwards and will be similar to the Royal Institution Christmas lectures made famous in the 1950�s by Sir Lawrence Bragg.

Spring Lectures

The Neutrino Hunters: The Chase for the Ghost particle and the Secrets of the Universe
Dr Ray Jayawardhana, University of Toronto, Canada

Before the Higgs boson there was a maddening search for another particle that holds the secrets of the universe �the neutrino. First detected in 1956, it teased the answers to still more mysteries. How did the Big Bang happen? Why is antimatter so rare? What might �dark matter� be made of? And could faster- than light travel be possible, overturning Einstein�s theory of special relativity.

The hunt for the neutrino and its meaning has also involved its adventures, from Cold War defections and extra dimensions to mile-deep holes in the Antarctic ice and a troubled genius who disappeared without a trace. Renowned astrophysicist and award-winning science writer Ray Jayawardhana delivers a thrilling lecture on the hunt for the neutrino from the dawn of the quantum age to today�s most inventive laboratories.

This lecture is based on his new book, The Neutrino Hunters: The chase for the ghost particle and the secrets of the universe. He has written other popular science books; Strange New Worlds; The search for strange new worlds beyond our solar system and Star Factories and The Birth of Stars and Planets. The three books will be on sale at the lecture.

28 Jan 14: Bio-inspired Semiconductors for Healthcare
Dr Pantelis Georgiou, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Imperial College London

Joint Kent Physics Centre / Engineering and Digital Arts Lecture

Semiconductor technology is disrupting the healthcare sector by providing innovative solutions to combat chronic disease.

This talk explains how bio-inspired techniques and semiconductors can be used for building novel systems for early detection and therapy of disease. Specifically we can present recent developments on the bio-inspired artificial pancreas for the treatment of diabetes and semiconductor genetics for DNA sequencing.

11 Feb 14: Winston Churchill, his Nuclear Physicists, and The Bomb
Dr Graham Farmelo, University of Cambridge

Winston was the only international leader who could claim to be a nuclear visionary. In the 1920’s and 30’s he wrote several articles looking forward to the nuclear age. Later, he became the first leader to be presented by his nuclear scientists with a plan of action to build the bomb. This is the story of how Winston Churchill foresaw the advent of nuclear weapons, worked with his scientists to deliver them, and eventually became obsessed with the threat of thermonuclear warfare.

4 March 14: Five things you should never do with a Particle Accelerator
Dr Suzie Sheehy, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire

Particle accelerators are some of the most advanced machines on the planet. They incorporate an impressive range of cutting edge technology to do what seems like a simple job - to give subatomic particles energy. So what would happen if we tried to use them in unexpected ways? With the help of demonstrations, accelerator physicist Dr Suzie Sheehy will discuss her top five things you should never do with a particle accelerator and a few things you definitely should..

1 Apr 14: Transient Astronomy: Bursts, Bangs And Things That Go Bump In The Night
Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, University of Oxford

Joint meeting with SEKAS

Improvements in telescopes and computing allow us to look for and study things in the sky that are transient or short duration. How different will the universe look when viewed in this way? This talk will introduce this rapidly expanding area of astronomy.

3 Feb 15: Dr Francis Saunders
President of the Institute of Physics

More details to follow.

Contact Webmaster: Joanna Walpole J.L.Walpole@kent.ac.uk Tel: 01227 82 7833



Faculty of Sciences, Marlowe Building, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR

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Last Updated: 03/07/2014