Theoretical physics

News involving the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics

21 February 2017

Physics Colloquia Series Presents: Prof Tom McLeish FRS, Durham University 'Learning new physics from a medieval thinker: Big Bangs and Rainbows’

Friday, 24th February 2017 at 15:30

Abstract: For the English polymath, Robert Grosseteste, light was the fundamental first form that gave dimensionality and stability to the material world. In a dozen scientific treatises written in the early 13th Century, he postulated a physics of light, colour and the rainbow. In this talk, Prof. McLeish will introduce Robert Grossteste (ca 1170 -1253), the scientist, teacher, theologian and bishop and describe how a unique collaborative research approach has revealed new insights into his thought, particularly on light.

14 February 2017

Astor Special Lecture: Dr. Dmitri D. Ryutov

Physics Colloquia Series – Astor Lecture

Plasma physics helps in establishing an upper bound for the photon mass
Dr. Dmitri D. Ryutov
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Tuesday, 7 March 2017 at 14.00

The finiteness of the photon mass does not contradict the relativity theory: it just puts the photon on par with other particles, with the limiting propagation velocity still in place. The photon mass, even if finite, is incredibly small, less than 10-24 of the electron mass [1], but even at this value it would have a strong effect on large-scale astrophysical phenomena.

14 February 2017

Friday Physics Colloquia Series Presents (17 Feb): Professor Valerio Scarani, Centre for Quantum Technologies and National University of Singapore

‘The applied side of Bell nonlocality’
Friday, 17 February 2017 at 15:30

Abstract: Since its formulation in 1964, Bell's theorem has been classified under "foundations of physics". Ekert's 1991 attempt to relate it to an applied task, quantum cryptography, was quenched by an approach that relied on a different basis and was allegedly equivalent. Ekert's intuition was finally vindicated with the discovery of "device-independent certification" of quantum devices.

1 February 2017

Friday Physics Colloquia Series Presents: Professor Val Gibson, Cambridge, 'The Beauty of Flavour - Latest results from the LHCb experiment at the Large Hadron Collider’

Professor Val Gibson, Cambridge, will present this Friday’s Physics Colloquium entitled ‘The Beauty of Flavour - Latest results from the LHCb experiment at the Large Hadron Collider’ at the usual time of 3.30pm in the Martin Wood Lecture Theatre (3 February 2017). Tea & Coffee will follow in the Clarendon Labs Common Room.

Abstract: The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has just completed another very successful year of data-taking, exceeding many of its design parameters, and collecting a huge amount of data.

23 January 2017

Physics Colloquia Series Presents: 27 January 2017: Prof Nicola Spaldin, ETH Zurich; From Materials to Cosmology: Studying the early universe under the microscope

The behaviour of the early universe just after the Big Bang is one of the most intriguing basic questions in all of science, and is extraordinarily difficult to answer because of insurmountable issues associated with replaying the Big Bang in the laboratory. One route towards the answer -- which lies at the intersection between cosmology and materials physics -- is to use laboratory materials to test the so-called "Kibble-Zurek" scaling laws proposed for the formation of defects such as cosmic strings in the early universe.

15 December 2016

Robust defence of string theory wins Physics World's 2016 Book of the Year

Physics World's choice for the 2016 Book of the Year is Why String Theory? by Joseph Conlon.

Abstract, mathematically complex and (so far) unsupported by direct experimental evidence, string theory attracts plenty of criticism. Yet it remains an incredibly active area of research, with thousands of physicists and mathematicians around the world working on strings and related ideas. The reasons for its continued popularity are eloquently presented in Joseph Conlon's book Why String Theory?

Talk for Prospective DPhil Students

Date: 
30 Nov 2016 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Venue: 
Denys Wilkinson Building, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3RH

Talk for Prospective DPhil Students will take place on Wednesday 30th November 2016 at 3.30pm in the Dennis Sciama Lecture Theatre the talks will be followed by a drinks reception in the Denys Wilkinson Building Common Room.

The talks will be given by:

Professor Daniela Bortoletto
Director of Graduate Studies for Particle Physics

Professor Subir Sarkar
Head, Particle Theory Group

Professor Andrei Seryi
John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science

25 October 2016

Physics Colloquium Nov 11: Professor Jon Rosner (Chicago), 'Exotic combinations of quarks - A journey of fifty years'

The early 1960s witnessed a wealth of elementary particles described in terms of simple combinations of a few more elementary units, dubbed quarks. The known mesons and baryons could all be described as states of quark-antiquark or three quarks. However, it was not understood why certain more elaborate combinations, such as (two quarks + two antiquarks) or (four quarks + one antiquark) had not been observed. It has taken nearly half a century, but these "exotic" particles are now beginning to be seen and understood.

25 October 2016

Physics Colloquia Series Presents: Astro Special - Dr Jamie Holder,University of Delaware, presents 'Astronomy at the Highest Energies: Exploring the Extreme Universe with Gamma Rays'

The gamma-ray band of the electromagnetic spectrum probes some of the most extreme environments in the Universe. Photons of these very-high energies can only be produced by the interactions of subatomic particles that have been accelerated to almost the speed of light. This acceleration occurs in a surprisingly wide variety of astrophysical sources: close to black holes and neutron stars, in the blast waves of supernova explosions, and in the relativistic jets of active galaxies.

25 October 2016

Physics Colloquia Series Presents: Dr. Trevor Cross,Group Chief Technology Officer, e2v, entitled '60 years of imaging technology'

From the earliest commercial production of electronic image sensors for television in the 1950s, to the diverse application of specialist silicon image sensors for the Hubble space Telescope to digital dentistry this talk will outline the manufacturing technology and changes through 60 years at e2v. Somewhat surprisingly, there are today lessons to be learned, and technologies to be applied from this to the emerging new platform technology of ultra-cold atom sensing and metrology.