Featured News

7 September 2011

The nearest supernova of its type to be discovered for 40 years is predicted to be at its brightest 7-8 September and will be visible through a good pair of binoculars.

The supernova, which was first spotted on 24 August by scientists from Oxford University and the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) collaboration, is in the Pinwheel Galaxy, M101.

Whilst not visible to the naked eye, with a clear sky anyone can observe the supernova using a good pair of binoculars or a small telescope:

28 August 2011

An international team of physicists has developed a novel X-ray technique for imaging atomic displacements in materials with unprecedented accuracy. They have applied their technique to determine how a recently-discovered class of functional materials known as multiferroics can develop magnetic order and a ferroelectric polarization simultaneously. Multiferroics are candidate materials for new classes of electronic devices.

26 August 2011

BATAVIA, Illinois The physics community got a jolt last year when results showed for the first time that neutrinos and their antimatter counterparts, anti-neutrinos, might be the odd man out in the particle world and have different masses. This idea was something that went against most commonly accepted theories of how the subatomic world works.

25 August 2011

Astronomers have discovered a bright, nearby supernova, otherwise known as an exploding star, and say it is the nearest of its type observed for 40 years.

The supernova was spotted in the Pinwheel Galaxy, M101, a spiral galaxy a mere 21 million light years away, lying in the famous constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major).

Scientists from the Department of Physics, University of Oxford made the discovery with their colleagues from the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) collaboration, using a robotic telescope in California in the United States.

26 July 2011

The Oxford Particle Physics group is playing a key role in the search for the Higgs Boson at the Large Hadron Collider. The most recent search results were presented by the ATLAS collaboration at the European Physical Society meeting in Grenoble. These intriguing results show an excess of events that would be consistent with decays of Higgs bosons to pairs of W particles.

18 June 2011

Oxford Physics has produced the first edition of an annual newsletter, aiming to describe the wide range of work that we do in front-line research, teaching, public outreach and school education. We would welcome contributions to future newsletters from undergraduate or postgraduate alumni and previous members of the physics department.

15 June 2011

The T2K experiment, whose primary purpose is to study neutrino interactions at a large distance from their source, has detected 6 electron neutrino candidate events based on the data collected before March 11, 2011. For the first time, it was possible to observe an indication that muon neutrinos are able to transform into electron neutrinos over a distance of 295 km through the quantum mechanical phenomena of neutrino flavor oscillations.

14 June 2011

An international team, including Oxford University scientists, has discovered ten new planets. Amongst them is one orbiting a star perhaps only a few tens of million years old, twin Neptune-sized planets, and a rare Saturn-like world.

The planets were detected using the CoRoT (Convection, Rotation and Transits) space telescope, operated by the French space agency CNES. It discovers planets outside our solar system – exoplanets – when they ‘transit’, that is pass in front of their stars.

9 June 2011

Is the Milky Way a typical galaxy? What can we learn about it from looking at its nearest neighbours, the Magellanic Clouds? Comparing a giant numerical simulation of millions of galaxies, with observations of galaxies from the largest survey of the sky carried out to date, an international team of astrophysicists including Oxford's Phil Marshall set out to answer these questions.

2 June 2011

Andy Eyre's DPhil thesis "On the Dynamics of Tidal Streams in the Milky Way Galaxy" was the runner up in the competition for the 2010 Michael Penston Prize for the best astronomy thesis submitted to a UK university during 2010. Andy was a member of the Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics and rebuilt the Centre's computer system in parallel with completing his thesis.