35 minutes | Mar 2, 2023
Sandro Tacchella: an international journey through extragalactic astrophysics
Help us get better by taking our quick survey! Your feedback will help us understand how we can improve in the future. Thank you for your time. Joining us this month is Dr Sandro Tacchella, Assistant Professor in Extragalactic Astrophysics at the Cavendish and the nearby Kavli Institute for Cosmology. Inspired by astronomy at a young age, Sandro pursued a degree in Physics and threaded a line between the “small” scale of planetary astrophysics and the statistical world of pure cosmology. He looks at the physics underpinning the formation of galaxies and black holes, hoping to understand how these cosmic structures came to be using data from some of the most advanced telescopes on, and above, Earth. His experience of using analytical and cosmological models to determine the physical properties of galaxies is being brought to bear on data from the recently activated James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam instrument, and he plays a key role in projects aimed at characterising the earliest galaxies. His research has taken him around the world, from Switzerland to Korea and the US, but he has still found time to start a family and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Today, we’ll talk to him about the benefits and unique problems he faces working in astrophysics, what it has been like to do cutting-edge research on three continents, and where he sees extragalactic astrophysics going in the near future. [00:36] – Guest’s intro [01:50] – Dreaming of space through a telescope [03:57] – Physics degree and outreach events to become a budding astronomer [05:03] – It's not so easy to do Astrophysics in Switzerland [06:00] – From broad astrophysics to extragalactic observations [08:17] – The exquisite images from the Hubble Space Telescope [10:00] – Why do galaxies look like what they do today? Look at them back in time! [12:17] – Live podcast announcement with special guest Professor Dame Athene Donald [13:42] - Starting a family while doing a PhD [16:35] – What counts when you try to succeed during a PhD are you don't get the support you need from your group? [20:05] – There is work, and there is family... [21:05] - Restarting a career at Harvard and working on the James Webb Telescope [23:15] – From Harvard to Korea to the UK- two kids, a partner, a postdoc, and a pandemic [26:35] - Analising the date from James Webb Telescope and understanding when the very first galaxies and black holes formed and how they evolved [31:25] Astrophysics is famous for finding things that nobody was expecting [33:46] – Outro Book ahead Join us for a LIVE recording of the Poeple Doing Physics with special guest Professor Dame Athene Donald on Saturday 18th March at 3.30pm. Part of Cambridge event is part of the Cambridge Festival from the University of Cambridge. Reserve your free spot now! Useful links Learn more about
39 minutes | Feb 2, 2023
A tour of the Cavendish's new home with Andy Parker
Help us get better by taking our quick survey! Your feedback will help us understand how we can improve in the future. Thank you for your time. This is episode 13 of People Doing Physics, the podcast from the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. This month marks our first birthday! One year, 12 guests, each one looking into their very own journey and connection with Physics. For this special anniversary episode, we’ve asked the head of the Cavendish Laboratory, Professor Andy Parker to take us to a building site. Not any building site though. The one, just across the road from the department’s current location, where the newest home for the Cavendish Laboratory will open in 2024. A Professor of High Energy Physics, Andy joined the Cavendish as a lecturer in 1989. He served as Deputy Head of Department for 3 years before becoming Head of Department in 2013. Who better than Andy then, who has overseen this immense project for the best part of the past 10 years, to show us around and talk about what the new building means for the future of physics in Cambridge and nationally? With him we wandered and we roamed and we talked: about particle physics, ever bigger underground tunnels, and a lost spring on the carpet. [00:36] – Guest’s intro [01:38] – A walk through the Ray Dolby Centre – part 1 [07:07] – Back in the studio: how dismantling things as a kid lead to a career in physics [08:38] – The world of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research [11:35] – 300 Neutrino collisions [12:40] – Young and foolish scientists solving the R&D issues related to construction of the Large Hadron Collider, and its ATLAS inner detector. [15:40] – Developing the next 100 km long accelerator [20:25] - A walk through the Ray Dolby Centre – part 2 [25:15] – Rebuilding a new laboratory and attracting the crème de la crème in physics [29:25] - Raising millions towards developing new physics and pushing towards the unknown [33:16] – The great relief [34:59] – What’s coming and exciting in Physics in the Ray Dolby Centre and elsewhere? [37:40] – Outro Useful links Learn more about the Ray Dolby Centre and about the relationship between Ray Dolby at the Cavendish. Explore the world of CERN, the Large Hadron Collider and the ATLAS inner detector. To learn more about the Cavendish Laboratory, or if you are interested in joining us or studying with us, go to www.phy.cam.ac.uk Share and join the conversation If you like this episode don’t forget to rate it and leave a review on your favourite podcast app. It really helps others to find us. Any comment about the podcast or question you would like to ask our physicists, email us at email@example.com or join the conversation
40 minutes | Jan 5, 2023
Intro We’re joined today by Prof. Sarah Bohndiek, Professor of Biomedical Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory, Group Leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, and Fellow of Corpus Christi College. Born in Greenwich, Sarah found an early enthusiasm for science and went on to study Natural Sciences as an undergraduate student at Cambridge University. Drawn to interdisciplinary research, she completed a PhD in Radiation Physics at UCL’s Department of Medical Physics, looking at x-ray imaging techniques for cancer detection and working alongside biologists and chemists. Following this, Sarah moved towards optics, in order to become involved in clinical trials and took up postdoctoral positions in Cambridge and Stanford. Currently, her research group, the Vision Lab, looks to understand tumours using new medical imaging techniques, and Sarah is also particularly interested in the incredibly important process of standardising complex methods and datasets between laboratories. Alongside her research, she has championed public engagement and interdisciplinary research training, and pushes for open access, practical solutions to serious medical issues. Stay with us… Please help us get better by taking our quick survey! Your feedback will help us understand how we can improve in the future. Thank you for your time. [00:34] – Guest’s intro [02:03] – Growing up in Greenwich, fascination with Astrophysics and interest in physics [03:36] – Interest in using physics for medical application [08:35] – X-ray tomography techniques and working as part of the UK-wide consortium during PhD [12:05] – Inter-disciplinary aspect of work [13:27] – Importance of Physics of medicine building and holistic medical research approach [20:01] – In the news this month we talk about how reshaping RNA to an origami identifier opens new avenues for understanding and advancing disease diagnostics. RNA or ribonucleic acid is one of the key biological molecules that bridges our genetic information (DNA) and molecular factories (proteins). RNA has a single strand in comparison to double-stranded DNA helix. Labour-intensive approach of RNA sequencing suffers enzyme biases that causes the loss of native RNA information including RNA identity and quantity. Up until now, we could not detect RNA ‘makeup’, including its chemical modifications and overall shape. The mere order of bases in RNA could not tell us how that RNA looked. Researchers have recently developed a new method - Amplification-free RNA TargEt Multiplex Isoform Sensing (ARTEMIS) that has made possible the identification of multiple RNAs in parallel. [25:15] – Shift from imaging to NMR [29:16] – Current Research while leading the Vision Lab at the Cavendish [31:00] – Making improvement in the existing medical technologies(devices) [32:47] – Working with humongous datasets, open access and standardisation [36:12] – Future exciting development in medical imaging [38:59] – OutroUseful links Know more about Physics of Medicine research here. Read the article on this month’s news - Reshaping RNA to an origami identifier opens new avenues for understanding and advancing disease diagnostics Link of the Research Paper for this month’s news release -
42 minutes | Dec 1, 2022
Intro We’re joined today by a familiar voice, Dr Paolo Molignini. Paolo will be leaving us soon, so this month we thought we would give a little insight into one of the people behind the podcast. Paolo is a postdoctoral research associate in the Theory of Condensed Matter group here at the Cavendish, bringing together elements of nonequilibrium physics, topological phases of matter, quantum optics and quantum simulation. Born in Switzerland, he gained his BSc, MSc, and PhD in Physics from ETH Zurich before taking up a postdoctoral position in the Quantum Systems Engineering group at Oxford. His research involves developing several software applications for modelling quantum systems, including UNIQORN, which applies machine learning to model systems of ultra-cold atoms. On top of this, Paolo has found time to contribute to several outreach programmes; producing a series of videos on superconductors during his time at Oxford, creating a doodle video on topological insulators for the first online Cambridge Science Festival, as well as hosting a monthly podcast looking at the people behind the physics research taking place at the Cavendish. Today, we’ll talk about his experiences growing up in southern Switzerland, his path from Civil Engineer to Physicist, the work he does as a theoretician working in an experimental laboratory, and where this will take him next. Stay with us… Please help us get better by taking our quick survey! Your feedback will help us understand how we can improve in the future. Thank you for your time. [00:36] – Guest’s intro [02:02] – Current role at the Cavendish [03:00] – More about Topological materials [04:37] – Early interest in Science [06:20] – Choosing Physics [11:00] – Gravitating towards Condensed matter physics [14:30] – Finding the PhD role and finding funding [18:05] – In the news this month we talk about phase transitions. Whether we boil water or cook pasta, a phase transition is taking place. Matter can appear in many more different phases, some of which have an inherently quantum origin, such as superfluids or ferromagnets. While some of the classical phase transitions have been known for centuries, in recent years we have started to discover and study new exciting kinds of phase transitions at the quantum level which could be soon harnessed for incredible new technologies. [21:41] – Further News discussion with the guest Dr Paolo Molignini: Extending topological invariants to finite temperatures [24:23] – Further News discussion with the guest Dr Paolo Molignini: Making an insulator topological by changing the temperature [25:10] – Perception about research as a whole [27:37] – Challenges with getting research papers published in journals [29:41] – Successful way in research is to specialise in a sub-field and become leaders in that field [31:19] – Experience during PhD and enlarging skillsets (computing) [32:55] – Next career move as a postdoc and pandemic [36:30] – Interest in outreach and doing the podcast [38:11] – What is next? [41:00] – Outro --- Useful links: Visit TCM Group to understand more about the Theory of Condensed Matter research group Read the article on this month’s news - Topological phase transitions at finite temperature Pre-print link of the Research Paper for this
48 minutes | Nov 3, 2022
Intro Joining us this month is Dr Tiffany Harte, senior research associate in the group of Prof. Ulrich Schneider here at the Cavendish Laboratory. Tiffany is an experimental physicist who works with ultracold atomic systems. These are gases of neutral elements like Rubidium or Lithium which are cooled down to incredibly low temperatures and used to probe with extreme precision fundamental properties of quantum matter which would otherwise be inaccessible in other kinds of experiments, for instance in material science. She has done research at St. Andrews, Oxford, and now Cambridge, working on all the aspects of ultracold experiments, from devising optical traps, to performing quantum simulation of exotic lattices, to engineering the next generation of cooling and transport instruments. Her latest project is very ambitious: in a consortium of 7 UK universities, she is trying to build a new type of interferometer with the ultimate goal of detecting dark matter and gravitational waves. Tiffany is also a very passionate outreach communicator. She is interested in finding new and creative ways of presenting her research, for instance by combining it with dance or devising board games inspired by the physics she sees in the lab. Her goal is to make science fun and understandable for a range of different audiences, from children to adults. In today’s episode, we’ll talk to her about the challenges of devising experiments at the limits of zero temperature, on how to find motivation when experiments break down, and how to navigate postdoc life in and out of the pandemic. Stay with us… Please help us get better by taking our quick survey! Your feedback will help us understand how we can improve in the future. Thank you for your time. [00:36] – Guest’s intro [02:16] – Early Background and inspiration to do physics [05:34] – Experience at St. Andrews [07:22] – First encounter with cold atoms, summer project involving laser beam shaping for traps [09:52] – Part of regular journal club where presented a paper on vortex nucleation in Bose-Einstein condensates [11:17] – PhD experience and challenges with the experiment(setup) [13:50] – Building back the experiment stronger and better [14:30] – Advice to a student dealing with similar issues (failed experiments, struggling with PhD) [18:33] – Post Doc at Cavendish Lab [21:02] – First project on quantum simulation of Kagome lattice for flat band physics and frustrated magnetism [25:28] – In the news this month we talk about a new technique to look inside Lithium-ion batteries. Clean and efficient energy storage technologies are essential to establishing a renewable energy infrastructure. Lithium-ion batteries are already dominant in personal electronic devices and are promising candidates for reliable grid-level storage and electric vehicles. It is very important to improve their charging rates and usable lifetimes. To do so scientist need to understand the changes occurring inside an operating battery. Researchers at the Cavendish have now developed a low-cost lab-based optical microscopy technique to study lithium-ion batteries. The key advantages of the methodology will enable further exploration of what happens when batteries fail and how to prevent it. The technique can be applied to study almost any type of battery material, making it an important piece of the puzzle in the development of next-generation batteries. [28:12] – Most recent experiment on AION project [37:31] – Outreach, Public Engagement and sharing the love for science [42:37] – Research Staff Committee role [46:25] – Outro --- Useful links: Visit Atom Interferometry webpage to understand...
38 minutes | Oct 6, 2022
Intro With us this month is Prof. Malcolm Longair, CBE, FRS, FRSE (and Munroist). Born in Dundee, in 1941, Malcolm studied Electronic Physics at what is now the University of Dundee, but was then part of St Andrews. After this, he came down south to the Cavendish, where he completed his PhD as part of the Radio Astronomy Group, supervised by Martin Ryle. Specialising in high energy astrophysics and astrophysical cosmology, Malcolm has since been a Royal Society Exchange Visitor to the USSR; held visiting professorships at prestigious institutions around the world; been the Astronomy Royal for Scotland; Cambridge’s Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy; Deputy Head and Head of the Cavendish Laboratory. He has contributed to international scientific bodies, such as NASA and ESA, and found the time to publish 22 books, over 300 scientific papers, and give hundreds of public lectures. Most recently, he has been Director of Development for the Cavendish Laboratory. In this role, he has helped modernise the Cavendish Laboratory, with the building of the Physics of Medicine building and Maxwell Centre, and the soon-to-be completed Ray Dolby Centre which will house most of the upcoming National Facility for Physics. Today, we will be talking about Malcolm’s path into Physics, what over half a century of working at the cutting edge of science has taught him, and where he sees the Cavendish laboratory going in the future. Stay with us… Please help us get better by taking our quick survey! Your feedback will help us understand how we can improve in the future. Thank you for your time. [00:36] – Guest’s intro [02:39] – Starting out in Physics [05:08] – Time at Cambridge doing PhD [06:00] – 1960’s, the revolutionary decade of Astronomy [08:00] – Time in Moscow 1968/1969 and change of attitude towards understanding science [10:35] – Joining back at Cambridge as an Assistant Professor [11:12] – Understanding in Physics continues to develop [11:37] – Involvement with various organisations and evolving from research focused role to managing the big picture [12:06] – Experience with SRC and becoming Astronomer Royal for Scotland [13:55] – Interdisciplinary Scientist for Hubble Space Telescope (1977) and learning how to get big projects operating [15:40] – Guidance to scientists looking at working in policy and related fields [17:00] – Important things for scientists to think about for fundings and funding proposals [20:49] – In the news this month we focus on how artificial intelligence is helping to speed up the discovery of new materials. Atoms are the basic building blocks of every material. Combining different types of atoms naturally leads to different materials. However, it is not just the types of atoms that determine material properties, but also their arrangement. [24:37] – Moving back to Cavendish as Professor and Head of the Department, and rebuilding Cavendish Laboratory [27:50] – Sequence of new Cavendish buildings and facilities to support different research areas (such as Physics of Medicine, Astrophysics and more) [31:58] – Future vision essential for Cavendish [33:02] – Key takeaways, suggestions for early science researchers / physicists [36:35] – Outro ---Useful links: Visit Cavendish Astrophysics to understand more about their research. Read more about Cavendish Laboratory's new home and facility - Ray Dolby Centre Read the...
42 minutes | Sep 1, 2022
Intro Joining us this month is Dr Diana Fusco, lecturer in biological physics here at the Cavendish Laboratory. Diana is an amazing example of what it means to have an interdisciplinary and curiosity-driven career. Her scientific journey started at the University of Milan, where as an undergraduate, she focused mainly on theoretical and statistical physics. For her doctoral studies at Duke University, she took her first big jump and pivoted to computational work in soft matter physics and proteins. After that, she switched gears yet again and embarked on a postdoc in experimental microbiology at Berkeley. Diana then joined the Department of Physics here at the Cavendish in 2018, where her growing research group now focuses on understanding bacterial biofilms and the coevolution between bacteria and viruses, employing a wide range of tools from microscopy, to theoretical modelling, to computational simulations. In today’s episode, we’ll ask her about her unusual and adventurous journey through the disciplines, the differences and intersections between theoretical and experimental sciences, and what it’s like to not just find your path, but create it. Stay with us… Please help us get better by taking our quick survey! Your feedback will help us understand how we can improve in the future. Thank you for your time. [00:35] – Guest’s intro [01:45] – Background and early interest in science [03:04] – Interest and journey in Biological Physics [03:49] – Moving to United States for PhD in Computational Biology and academic environment [08:12] – Motivation behind switching to experimental research and finding post doc opportunity [11:30] – Different approach towards doing science [13:21] – Examples of other people who may have followed a similar science research journey [13:56] – Shift and acceptance towards interdisciplinary science [15:18] – Experiments during Postdoc – theory of bacterial evolution [17:47] – In the news this month is the Cosmology experiment based in South Africa – HERA, Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array and its impact upon local development. The University of Cambridge is one of the seven international institutions, outside of South Africa, that collaborated on the international project – HERA, Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array. HERA is an international astronomy infrastructure, a radio telescope dedicated to observing how the first structures formed in the very early stages of the universe, as the first stars and galaxies lit up space. As per an impact study from SARAO, the University of Cambridge has been involved with the project in multiple ways. This involvement with the project, along with that by other institutions, has made a difference to the local community as well as nationally in South Africa. [22:08] – Post-doc at Berkley and experience of applying to other senior positions [24:16] – Decision to take up the Cavendish Opportunity [26:36] – Moving to Cavendish and starting the research group during the pandemic [28:11] – About the current group research (two projects) – • Bio-films and bacteria communities • Evolution of bacteriophages [30:40] – Kind of experiments – Evolutionary experiments [32:45] – Discrepancies in the experiments [34:30] – More on Bio-films [36:00] – Research Approach (bottom-up approach ) [37:55] – How is the bottoms-up research approach different from other research approaches? [39:15] – Future of the research [41:18] – Outro ---Useful links: • Visit Biological and Biomedical Physics to understand more about their research. • Read the article on...
39 minutes | Aug 4, 2022
Intro Joining us this month is Melanie Tribble, the Cleanroom Manager for the Cavendish Laboratory. For the last three decades, she has kept the cleanrooms of the Cavendish up and running, going from working with one research group to providing support for the entire laboratory and external companies – ensuring that the ultra-clean environment needed for the creation of modern semiconductors is maintained, despite the aging hardware and a constant influx of new users. Growing up in Birmingham, Melanie found an enthusiasm for Physics at an early age; despite having to travel to the local boys’ school to actually find a Physics teacher. She later went on to study at Oxford, where she picked up a husband as well as a degree in Physics. After a brief stint work in atomic energy and selling store credit cards in Canada, she found herself job-hunting in Cambridge just as a position in the cleanrooms became available and she has been here ever since. From starting off with nearly no knowledge of cleanroom equipment, Melanie has overseen two extensions to the cleanrooms and an explosion in the types of devices created in them. When she’s not fixing aging apparatus or making devices for undergraduates, she’s training users or helping researchers turn their plans into reality. Today, we’ll chat with her about what it takes to keep a cleanroom running, her path into science, and the changes she’s seen during her time in the lab. Stay with us… Please help us get better by taking our quick survey! Your feedback will help us understand how we can improve in the future. Thank you for your time. [00:33] - Guests intro [02:26] – What is a cleanroom? [03:00] – Typical Day as a Cleanroom Manager [05:49] – Choosing and starting Science and Physics [9:20] – Reasons behind choosing Physics at Oxford [13:05] – Story behind meeting her husband at Oxford [14:30] – In the news this month: A team of researchers led by the NanoPhotonics Centre in the Cavendish Laboratory has shown a way to monitor the chemistry of liquid electrolytes during battery cycling by Raman spectroscopy. Similar to a blood test, Raman spectra of battery electrolytes provide unique information on their chemical state-of-health. The research team’s spectroscopic measurements reveal significant changes in the carbonate solvents and electrolyte additives during charging and discharging, allowing them to track how lithium-ions repeatably move across the battery. The new methodology contributes to understanding better the limitations of Li-ion batteries and paves the way for studies of degradation mechanisms in different electrochemical energy storage systems. [15:54] – Interesting career path – experience in Atomic energy [17:43] – Canada Experience [19:33] – Coming back to UK and starting work in the cleanroom [21:12] – Experience of working in the cleanroom [23:44] – Measures in the cleanrooms to avoid cross contamination [26:24] – Evolution of cleanrooms over the years and current scenario [28:53] – Physics department changes over the years [30:23] – Work during the pandemic [38:15] – Outro ---Useful links: Read the article on this month’s news - Seeing recharging of lithium-ion batteries with fibre Raman spectroscopy Journal Article link of the news release - Hollow-core optical fibre sensors for operando Raman spectroscopy investigation of...
38 minutes | Jul 7, 2022
Intro Our guest this month is Joanna Piotrowska, a PhD student looking at galaxy formation and evolution in the group of Prof. Roberto Maiolino. By using a mix of observational cosmology and numerical simulations, Joanna is studying how supermassive black holes – the giant black holes thought to reside at the center of every galaxy – can influence star formation, and in particular the mystery of why certain galaxies cease to generate any new stars. Joanna was born and raised in Warsaw, Poland. During her high school years, she quickly discovered her two great passions: artistic expression and the universe. At first, she contemplated going to art school, and even prepared a portfolio for her application, but in the end, she chose to move to Cambridge to pursue a degree in natural sciences. To this day, though, she tries to combine her artistic side with her scientific one. On the one hand, her studies of black holes and star formation inspire her artistic work with water-based paint on silk. On the other hand, she uses her knowledge about color theory and form to make the visual aids in her publications more accessible and meaningful. However, her long-term goal is not just to study space; she wants to become an astronaut and actually visit it. We will chat with her about walking the fine line between observational cosmology and numerical methods, the importance of outreach communication in science, and the skills required to become an astronaut and how she is preparing for it. Stay with us… Please help us get better by taking our quick survey! Your feedback will help us understand how we can improve in the future. Thank you for your time. [00:33] - Guests intro [02:10] – Astrophysics most fascinating field of physics [03:00] – Early background and fascination of observing the sky attracted her to astrophysics [04:50] – Experience of meeting a Polish astronaut [05:55] – Making a choice between Arts and Physics [08:20] – Motivation behind studying physics in Cambridge, UK [10:38] – Experience in UK studying physics and choosing Astrophysics [12:38] – Experience with untold side of physics with the coding/simulation side of physics [13:55] – Astrophysics melting pot of all the different fields in physics [15:45] – Inspiration behind looking at the influence of supermassive black holes on star formation in galaxies during PhD [16:46] – Steep learning curve [19:02] – Walking the thin line between observational astrophysics and simulations [20:20] – Using publicly available data for the research extremely important [22:54] – Postdoctoral position at Caltech and research related to physics of accretion disks around black holes [25:10] – In the news this month: Researchers have discovered a new effect in two-dimensional conductive systems that promises improved performance of terahertz detectors. A team of scientists at the Cavendish Laboratory, together with colleagues at the Universities of Augsburg (Germany) and Lancaster, has found a new physical effect when two-dimensional electron systems are exposed to terahertz waves. [27:22] – Finding ways of combining arts with science [28:51] – Suggestions on improving scientific communication [31:42] – Dream of becoming an astronaut and preparation [32:55] – Path to be followed towards becoming an astronaut [34:18] – Choosing the public vs private sector for space travel [35:33] – Future of space life is tourism [36:51] – Outro Useful links: Visit the
41 minutes | Jun 2, 2022
This month, our guest is Stuart Macpherson, Post-doctoral researcher in experimental opto-electronics in the Stranks Lab at the Department of Physics. Stuart’s research focuses on understanding the physics of solar photovoltaics based on perovskite compound, one of the fastest advancing solar technologies of today. Stuart is also the founder of Sustain/Ed, a non-profit organisation that aims to provide sustainability resources to young students. One of their activities is the energy mapping challenge, aimed at primary school students(9-11 year olds). Through hands-on measurements and data logging, students increase their awareness about climate change and learn how to critically approach scientific problems and apply the knowledge gained to solve real world problems. The project has already been piloted at 6 schools across the country, and is now scaling up further. Another activity that he has launched with Sustain/Ed is the Sustain/Ed learning module, an educational package which augments the KS2 curriculum in the UK by offering activities which reinforce awareness of sustainability and climate action while maintaining core learning outcomes. For his projects with Sustain/Ed, in 2021 Stuart was recognised with the Vice Chancellor’s Social Impact Award. But how did his journey in sustainability start? And how does it relate to the technologies he has been developing? We will ask him this and more in our interview. Stay with us… Please help us get better by taking our quick survey! Your feedback will help us understand how we can improve in the future. Thank you for your time.Jump into the conversation: [00:33] - Guest's intro [02:13] – Background and how did he end up choosing physics? [04:31] – Teacher’s influence in studying physics [06:45] – Experience studying physics at St. Andrews [8:40] – Starting St. Andrews Engineering Group [10:06] – Weather balloon project to measure some interesting atmospheric properties [12:07] – Building a RADAR device during Masters [14:25] – Reason behind the PhD decision [17:40] – Interesting PhD hiring process at Cambridge [19:56] – Research at Cambridge is on compounds called perovskites that are useful in solar panels [22:30] – Defects and problems associated with perovskite [24:43] – In the news this month: Existing copper network cables of UK can support faster internet speeds only to a limit. Researchers say that additional investment is urgently needed if the government is serious about its commitment to making high-speed internet available to all. [26:20] – Involvement with Sustain/Ed, a non-profit organisation providing sustainability resources to young students [27:50] – Idea of Energy Mapping Challenge [30:51] – Small grant to scale up the idea [33:21] –Worked closely with the University of Cambridge primary school, designed an actual learning module – Sustain/Ed learning module [34:17] – Novel inventions and innovation, what people are doing to tackle the climate crisis [35:27] – Summing Sustain/Ed – teaching next generation science to the next generation [35:48] – Goals and Future Endeavours - Sustain/Ed [38:14] – Personal Goals, 5 years from now [39:45] – Outro ---Useful links: • Visit the Optoelectronic Materials and Device Spectroscopy Group (StranksLab) Website to learn more about their research. • Read the article on this month's news - Existing infrastructure will be unable to support demand for high-speed...
40 minutes | May 5, 2022
This month our guest is Tom Sharp, group technician for the Optoelectronics research group here at the Department of Physics, where his day to day involves working closely with scientists to maintain and troubleshoot equipment and ensure a smooth running of the laboratories and facilities. Tom was always drawn to mechanical work growing up, and joined the Cavendish through an apprenticeship 10 years ago. In that time his role has changed, evolving from working in the mechanical workshop to being in charge of producing and maintaining a whole group’s equipment. As someone who has to solve problems on a daily basis, Tom works with the mindset that you can’t get brought down with failures - sometimes your first solution won’t work as you hoped, but it’s all about learning, improving and adapting to new situations and challenges. But how does one learn to work in such a fast-paced and unpredictable environment? And what’s it like to work so closely with researchers and play a crucial part in setting up the experiments that lead to ground-breaking discoveries? Stay tuned as we ask Tom all about this and more… A bit of jargon busting: OE: Optoelectronics SP: Semiconductor Physics ME: Microelectronics Please help us get better by taking our quick survey! Your feedback will help us understand how we can improve in the future.Thank you for your time.Jump into the conversation: [00:33] - Guests intro [12:18] – In the news this month: Meet June Broomhead (Lindsey), the woman who contributed to the discovery of DNA's double-helix [38:58] - Outro Useful links: Visit the Optoelectronics research group website to learn more about their research. Read the original article about June Broomhead (Lindsey) this month’s news are based on (including the black & white photograph of the 1947 Researchers and Students group) Tom Sharp talked about his apprenticeship at the Cavendish in this video. To learn more about the Cavendish Laboratory, or if you are interested in joining us of studying with us, go to www.phy.cam.ac.uk Share and join the conversation: If you like this episode, don’t forget to rate it and leave a review on your favourite podcast. Any comment about the podcast or question you would like to ask our physicists, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #PeopleDoingPhysics. Episode credits: Hosts: Simone Eizagirre Barker and Jacob Butler News presenters: Vanessa Bismuth and Paolo Molignini Producer: Chris Brock
40 minutes | Apr 7, 2022
Suchitra Sebastian and Logan Dandridge
We’re doing things a bit differently this month, welcoming not one but two guests in this episode. Suchitra Sebastian is a professor of Physics at the Cavendish, but like cats, she had more than a few lives before becoming a world-class scientist. And like cats, she moves gracefully between very different worlds. It took time and a few twists and turns before a career in research became a conscious choice and ever since, she’s been finding ways to keep it interesting, fresh and fun for her. Since 2016, she’s the director of Cavendish Arts Science, a programme that seeks to question and explore material and immaterial universes through a dialogue between the arts and sciences. Last autumn, the programme appointed the artist Logan Dandridge, our second guest today, as the First Cavendish Arts Science Fellow. Logan grew up in Richmond, Virginia in the 90s to become a filmmaker whose work explores race, memory, and time through sound and the moving image. Last January, Logan traveled all the way from Syracuse University in the State of New York (USA), where he teaches films, to spend six months in Cambridge. Here, he’s creating encounters with Cavendish physicists to create new work that grapples with questions of memory, and re-imagined futures. With Logan and Suchitra, we talk about personal awakenings, messing around and finding out things by chance, and seeking out intersections between worlds that don’t necessarily collide. Jump into the conversation: [00:30] - Guests intro [02:10] – When Physics is not an obvious choice, one takes detours [05:20] – A fringe physicist venturing into the borderlands of condensed matters [09:18] – Physics alone will not do – exploring different forms of expression to know the world and be in it [13:40] – Pushing the boundaries of arts and science to create a dialogue and provocation between the two [17:15] – Crossing the line between Arts and Science and vice versa. [21:05] – In the news this month: Two-dimensional material could store quantum information at room temperature [25:05] – Who are you, Logan Dandridge? [26:50] – The beauty of the moving images, “sculpture and painting happening at the same time” [28:35] – Why engaging with scientists now? [29:40] – Expectations v. reality [30:40] – ‘Oh, I’m looking!’ [32:20] – What to expect from Cavendish Arts Science [37:07] – How many black futures will end before they begin… [38:48] - Outro ---Useful links: For more information about Cavendish Arts Science, visit cavendish-artscience.org.uk If you would like to explore some of Logan Dandridge’s previous works: BlackContinuum 01 Here,yesterday (136) Untitled(Foremothers) Logan and Suchitra will be at the Cambridge Festival 2022 for an Artist’s film screening and Q&A on Saturday 9th April at 3.30pm.
44 minutes | Mar 3, 2022
Our guest this month is Tina Potter, Professor of High Energy Physics at the Cavendish and expert in the particle physics Beyond the Standard Model. Tina developed a passion for physics at a young age and has always been drawn to big, fundamental questions about the nature of our reality: what is the universe made of? How do its constituents behave? How can we detect them? Her doctorate was when the world of CERN – the world-famous particle accelerator facility located at the border between Switzerland and France – opened up to her. She lived through the groundbreaking discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider, a discovery that completed the Standard Model of particle physics and for its importance was awarded the Nobel prize in physics in 2013. Today, she is working on new theories Beyond the Standard Model that could explain phenomena that still remain a mystery while also teaching the next generation of physicists and raising her two children. Tina certainly likes a challenge, but how does one forge their own path into science when there is no family scientific connection or role-model? And how is it to work on larger-than-life research projects with huge datasets and hundreds of collaborators across the world? We’re ask her this and more in this new episode. Jump into the conversation: [00:00] - Guest intro [02:00] – First encounter with physics [02:45] – The world of particle physics and its open, unexplored big questions [05:00] – “I would like to know what Dark Matter is” [07:20] – The wonderful world of CERN and its unique research culture [10:15] – Getting over nerves and shyness - a quick strategy [11:55] – What a time to be alive! Living through the Higgs boson discovery [15:25] – Finally, my parents could understand - How the Higgs Boson discovery raised the profile of particle physics [17:30] - In the news this month – Mutating Quantum Particles set in motion [21:50] – Managing work-life balance in an academic environment [25:09] – Grasping every opportunity to survive the research career pyramid [27:00] – How to forge your own path when there’s no academic role model in your life? [30:25] – Approaching science with children and expanding their views on who can be a scientist [31:46] – Finding evidence of particles beyond the Standard Model with supersymmetry [37:15] – The beauty and challenges of cathedral projects [42:56] - Outro --- Useful links: Read the full news story about mutating quantum particles set in motion on our website. To learn more about Tina Potter and her work, visit High Energy Physics | (cam.ac.uk) Curious about CERN? Home | CERN To learn more about what’s been discussed in this episode, or why not, join us or study with us at the Cavendish, go to www.phy.cam.ac.uk Share and join the conversation If you like this episode, don’t forget to rate it and leave a review on your favourite podcast. Any comment about the podcast or question you would like to ask our physicists, email us at email@example.com or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #PeopleDoingPhysics. Episode credits: Hosts: Simone...
30 minutes | Feb 3, 2022
Our guest this month is LOUISE HIRST, Assistant Professor of Physics, and specialist of the development of advanced, high efficiency photovoltaics for space applications like powering satellites and exploring space. As a teenager and young adult, she contemplated a dual career in music and science, but knew she could not do both so finally decided to push her physics studies, with the idea she could get into finance or banking. Today, she’s not working in the City but continues to play the trumpet and piano when she’s not manipulating materials in the lab. She spent several years at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, where she did her postdoc. The lab brings together civilians and military staff, an environment she found both intellectually stimulating and challenging. Louise Hirst is not easily impressionable, andcertainly not easily discouraged. But is it a natural trait or did she have to build her confidence the hard way? We’re asking her and more in this episode. Jump into the conversation: [00:00] - Guest intro [01:50] - How did it all start? [02:56] - Music or physics? Finance or research? [05:15] - It’s all about photovoltaics [09:58] - Working with military staff in the U.S. [13:13] - In the news this month - 3D printed nanomagnets unveil a world of patterns in the magnetic field [15:10] - Being a woman in science and sticking up for oneself [20:50] – Interdisciplinary and translational themes at the University of Cambridge [23:50] – Is physics changing? [28:00] – Where next? [29:28] - OutroUseful links: Read the full news story about 3D printed nanomagnets on our website. To learn more about Louise Hirst, visit Space Photovoltaics (cam.ac.uk). Find her on Twitter @LouiseHirstUCam For more details about research and teaching at the Cavendish, or why not to join us or study with us, go to www.phy.cam.ac.uk Share and join the conversation: If you like this episode, don’t forget to rate it and leave a review on your favourite podcast app. Any comment about the podcast or question you would like to ask our physicists? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #PeopleDoingPhysics. Episode credits: Hosts: Vanessa Bismuth and Paolo Molignini News presenters: Jacob Butler and Simone Eizagirre Barker Producer: Chris Brock
1 minutes | Jan 26, 2022
Introducing People doing Physics
People Doing Physics is a new podcast from the Cavendish Laboratory (at the University of Cambridge) exploring the personal side of physics. Our first episode launches on 3rd February 2022. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts! Follow and connect with the show on Twitter using the hashtag #PeopleDoingPhysics. For more details and episodes notes, visit phy.cam.ac.uk/podcast