IOP Public lecture in Lancaster

Centre for Computational Physics

On Wednesday June 13th 2018 Dr. Fabien Paillusson gave a public lecture entitled “Does Mr Entropy need Phoenix Wright?” at the university of Lancaster. The event was organised by the Lancashire and Cambria branch of the Institute of Physics (IOP).

The lecture aimed at discussing two competing interpretations of entropy and sparked interesting and challenging questions from the public.

After the lecture, Fabien went with some members of the local IOP team (cf. photo below) to shelter themselves from the rain at Marco’s and have some lovely food.

A very enjoyable experience for Fabien’s first time in Lancashire!

Lancaster2018 Fabien (right) with two members of the Lancashire and Cambria branch of IOP: Hannah Renshaw (middle) and Shaun Dempsey (left).

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Tom Vale

I have been meaning to write this post for a while (but I foolishly let my assignments build up):


On the 12th-13th April, I attended the British Conference of Undergraduate research, where I presented my UROS project on the statistical analysis of a tapped granular column.

PdCV7q-F_400x400 Awkward old me next to my UROS poster

I attended many talks throughout the two days, looking first at people who attended from the University of Lincoln, followed by (if possible) physics students, the set up of the parallel sessions demanded that each person had an interdisciplinary experience, which definitely enriched the conference and made it memorable. The parallel sessions I attended on day one were (with all four/three talks listed in each bullet point):

  • 1. Gender Differences in Estimating Self and Peer Physical Attractiveness — Heather Sunderland, University of Lincoln; 2. Variability of the Deep Scattering Layers of the Southern Ocean — Linsey Mortimer…

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Historical First Astronomy Observation At University Of Lincoln

Astrophysics Group

On the evening of 15th February Students studying physics at the University of Lincoln carried out their first observations of the night sky. This was the historical first practical astronomy session with the aim of expanding our practical element for you physics students. On the roof of the Isaac Newton Building students used a 8 inch (203mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain reflecting and 4.75inch (120mm) refracting telescope to view various interesting astronomical objects. Even in the centre of Lincoln we were able to clearly observe Orion’s nebula. A deep sky object which is a cloud of gas and dust illuminated by nearby young hot blue stars that have recently formed.

The plan is to loan out some of our telescopes to allow students to make their own observations in their own time.


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Studying The Stars To Understand The Universe

Astrophysics Group

EXPERT COMMENT: How we’re using the largest ever recorded set of galactic data to study the stars

Astrophysicist Dr Phil Sutton explains the possibilities opened up by new data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite.

The Gaia satellite. After 22 months of observations, the second release of data contains the position and brightness of 1,692,919,135 stars

The Gaia mission is a space-based observational survey of over 1 billion stars in our local neighbourhood, the Milky Way (pictured above).

It will measure the precise position of stars using a technique known as astrometry.

This will give a detailed three-dimensional map of the Milky Way and is complemented by spectroscopic measurements of the same stars.

Here, along with the precise position of stars in the Milky Way, the Doppler effect is used to find relative velocities of stars by a shift in wavelength of their observed light.

The result is a…

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Thrilling Visit to the Cambridge Graphene Centre by Final Year Physics Students

Nanoscience, Nanotechnology & Nanomedicine

On Wednesday 7th March 2018, our final year Physics students were kindly hosted by the world leading Cambridge Graphene Centre at the University of Cambridge. They got learn about ground breaking research taking place along with emerging applications of the this noble prize winning one dimensional material. The visit follows the lecture given by Dr Yarjan Samad (Cambridge Graphene Centre) at the University of Lincoln to our physic students on synthesis and application of graphene for gas sensing applications.CGC 1

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School of Mathematics & Physics celebrates International Women’s Day 2018

Maths & Physics News

Today is International Women’s Day. In celebration of this yearly event, we met with some of our female students to find out the projects they’re undertaking as part of their studies at the School of Mathematics & Physics, University of Lincoln UK.

After being recognised for its commitment to advancing women’s careers in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine), the University of Lincoln achieved a Bronze Award in 2014 as part of the Athena SWAN Charter.

In addition, the women in science, engineering and technology group (WiSE@Lincoln) was set up at the University in 2012 to coordinate and deliver sustained support, guidance, training and inspiration for the Lincoln women in science, engineering and technology. The WiSE group is overseen by the Eleanor Glanville Centre, an interdisciplinary centre for inclusion, diversity and equality at the University of Lincoln.

Find out what some of our female Mathematics & Physics students are involved in:

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Fiona’s graduation

Centre for Computational Physics

On 24th of January 2018 Fiona Bissett had her graduation ceremony in Lincoln Cathedral. Fiona is our second graduate in the history of the school, and the first Master by Research. Her Master of Science by Research thesis “Computational study of the self-assembly of hypoxanthine in the gas-phase and on the Au(111) surface” was written under the supervision of Dr Manuela Mura. Fiona’s research was supported by the University of Lincoln’s Back to Science Fellowship.

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Physics Seminar by Dr Andrew Caruana

On 23rd January Dr Andrew Caruana visited the physics department at the University of Lincoln. He gave a seminar for 3rd year physics students in the afternoon about his current role at ISIS as a beamline scientist. He introduced some of the techniques that are being used in his experiment (polarised neutron reflectivity) and why it is a useful  for investigating many properties of a range of materials. Afterwards Dr Caruana moved on to some of his current research interests involving the spin Seebeck effect which he is working closely with collaborators at Loughborough University.

Dr Caruana also invited the students and members of staff to come and visit the institute and see the experiment he supports.


Physics seminar: Dr Andrew Caruana

On 23rd January 2018 at 14:00 Dr Andrew Carauna will give a physics seminar in room INB3305. Below is the title, abstract and summary of Andrew’s work.


Studying the spin Seebeck Effect using Polarised Neutron Reflectivity

Talk outline:

Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are of increasing interest due to their potential use in energy harvesting of waste heat. The efficiency of such devices is often characterised by the thermoelectric figure of merit, zT[1], which is ultimately limited by the thermal and electric conductivities in conventional TEGs.  The ideal TEG material should have a high electrical conductivity (to reduce resistive losses), and low thermal conductivity (so that a large temperature gradient can be setup across the device) for the optimisation of zT. However, these properties are intrinsically linked to one another, as best described by the Weidemann-Franz Law (κ=σL0T), thus providing a limit to the upper value of zT.

The spin Seebeck effect (SSE) may overcome this limitation. When a thermal gradient is applied to a magnetised ferromagnet (FM) it can induce a spin current, JS [2]. By placing a heavy metal (NM) in contact with a FM material, JS can be converted to a charge current, JC, via the inverse spin hall effect (ISHE). Due to the separation of the active material (FM layer) and the electric circuit (NM layer) the FM layer can be chosen so that the thermal conductivity is minimised without affecting the electrical conductivity of the contact NM layer.

Polarised Neutron Reflectivity (PNR) provides information of the physical density and magnetic moment of a thin film or multilayer as a function of depth. Since PNR can probe buried interfaces, layer and interface parameters such as layer thickness, layer density, magnetic moment of the layer and the roughness at each interface can be determined. By the use of specific sample environment (magnets, cryostats, furnaces etc.), the depth profile of the magnetic moment can be probed under a variety of different conditions. In our recent work we have been investigating the magnetic depth profile of our SSE based devices[2] when a thermal gradient is applied across the device, using a custom built thermal cell. In this talk, I will provide an introduction to the SSE, PNR and the POLREF beamline at ISIS and show our recent work using the in-situ SSE-thermal cell.

[1] L. E. Bell, Science, 321, 1457 (2008)

[2] K. Uchida et al, J. Phys. Condens. Matter, 26, 343202 (2014)

[3] A. Caruana et al, Phys. Status Solidi RRL 10, No. 8, 613–617 (2016)


About Dr Andrew Carauna:

Studied for an undergraduate masters MPhys in pure physics at Loughborough University (graduated 2010). Conducted an experimental PhD in physics on pulsed laser deposition (PLD) of oxide thin films (graduated 2015, Supervisor Dr Mike Cropper). I was a postdoc for 1 year working under Dr Kelly Morrison on the Spin Seebeck Effect (SSE), growing thin film SSE devices using PLD. I now work as an instrument scientist on the POLREF polarised neutron reflectometer at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source. My main research interests lie in magnetic thin film devices for use in spintronics, i.e. the Spin Seebeck effect, specifically looking at interfacial effects on the induced spin pumping within these devices. Additionally, I am also interested in developing sample environment for in-situ measurement techniques on the beamline, i.e. in-situ SSE and ferromagnetic resonance/spin pumping.


History and Physics meet during Christmas

Science views

This Christmas is a rather special one – it is 375 years ago on Christmas Day (old style) Sir Isaac Newton, one of Lincolnshire’s most famous sons, was born.

We celebrate this event in Lincoln with a special Christmas Public Lecture: “Space travel: from fantasy to reality and beyond” given by a successful public speakers duoDr Anna Marie Roos and Dr Fabien Paillusson, a historian of science and a theoretical physicist.

We would like to present here opinions of our speakers on ‘Eureka’ Moments in Science and Why scientists like to deliver public lectures (click on the links).

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