Physics School Seminar Series


Levitating superconductor

Join us this spring for an exciting programme of talks exploring a range of different topics of current Physics research!

These short online seminars are aimed at students studying Physics at GCSE and A-Level who want to broaden their knowledge and learn a little bit more about the science we do here at Oxford Physics and what it is like to carry out this cutting-edge research.

Each seminar is 40 minutes long, which includes a 20 minute Q&A following a 20 minute talk.

All events will be run completely online via Zoom and are free to attend. Registration is required.

Each seminar will be recorded and will be available on the Department of Physics YouTube after the live event.

Last July we ran a similar series of seminars focusing on Quantum Materials. You can watch these recorded seminars on our QM YouTube channel

Full details about each event, including registration links, are below.

Upcoming Seminars

Tuesday 20th April, 4:00pm (BST) - Kylie MacFarquharson - "-273.1°C : The Physics of Cold"

Registration required - please use this form to register for this event.

Many of the exciting physics discoveries happening now occur at low temperatures, close to absolute zero, the coldest anything can be. But how do we get to such low temperatures? By exploring how we can cool down further and further, we can see that if you can understand how to stop your dinner from burning, you can understand how to cool to millikelvin, hundreds of degrees below.

About the speaker:
"My name is Kylie MacFarquharson, I am a DPhil student studying Condensed Matter Physics, working especially on a dilution fridge. I really enjoy low-temperature physics and the engineering behind it. I also like building robots."

Past Seminars - videos online

Quantum Materials Seminars - July 2020

Last July, we ran a series of talks taking you on a tour through the fascinating world of Quantum Materials. All the talks have been recorded and are available on our Quantum Materials YouTube channel here. You can find more details about individual seminars along with their videos below.

You can find out more about Quantum Materials research at Oxford here.

Aleksander Ulatowski: “How To Find a Good Semiconductor (Using Lasers)” [/h2]
Recording available soon

Semiconductors are present all around us, in modern light bulbs, TV screens, solar panels, and laptops. Miniaturisation of semiconductor devices resulted in billions of tiny transistors currently being used in a single computer chip. But what exactly are semiconductors, how do they work, and how do scientists keep finding newer and better semiconducting materials? Hopefully this talk will answer all of these questions!

About the speaker:
"Hi, I’m Alex and I am currently a PhD student in the Semiconductors group at University of Oxford. In my research group, we use laser spectroscopy to look for new materials to be used in solar cells. My work focuses on a group of materials called perovskite semiconductors, which will soon be used in novel, highly efficient solar panels."

Wangping Ren: "Macroscopic Quantum Phenomena"[/h2]
Recording available soon

Since the birth of quantum mechanics in the last century, it has been developed to interpret the laws in the microscopic world (atomic/sub-atomic). It would seem bizarre when quantum mechanics is applied to macroscopic objects, for instance, the Schrodinger’s cat. In this talk, I’ll introduce the macroscopic quantum phenomena that naturally occur as well as our current understandings of them in terms of quantum physics.

About the speaker:
"Hi there! I'm Wangping, a second-year DPhil student in the quantum materials group at the University of Oxford. My group's research involves exploring fundamental physics of electronic, magnetic, and atomic quantum matter, with a specialization in developing innovative instrumentation to allow direct visualization of quantum many-body phenomenon at the atomic scale. My work focuses on exploring the mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity, which is considered one of the central puzzles of modern physics."

Dr Alexy Karenowksa: "Making Waves in Magnetism: exploring a fantastical face of an everyday phenomenon"

Dr Alexy Karenowska is a magnetician whose research group is based in the University of Oxford’s Department of Physics. She is also a Fellow of Magdalen College where she enjoys giving tutorials to Physics and Engineering Science undergraduates and has special responsibility for activities connected with the College’s commitment to supporting widening participation in higher education. A strong believer in the importance of public engagement with research, Alexy runs a range of public engagement projects at the interface between physics and culture. Over the last four years, she has directed public science events attended by several million people in six countries and across three continents.

In this seminar we shall lift the lid on the familiar — yet mysterious — phenomenon of magnetism and explore some of the less well-known aspects of its fascinating physics. In particular, we shall meet the spin wave, an interesting variety of magnetic wave with a host of potential applications in classical and quantum computing technology.

Johnny Wilkinson: "Magnificent Muons"

Often, Quantum Materials and Particle Physics are seen as two completely separate branches of Physics. But it turns out that there is one particle, the muon, which despite only surviving for 2 millionths of a second has properties that make it really useful for studying quantum materials. In this short talk, Johnny will show how muons can be used to help us watch what atoms inside quantum materials get up to, and how they are used to unlock some of the biggest questions in quantum materials today.

Johnny is a DPhil student in Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Oxford. He specialises in muon spin rotation, which is a technique that uses muons to study the goings-on inside quantum materials. Before embarking on his DPhil, he was a MSci student at the University of Birmingham, and a summer placement student at the ISIS neutron and muon source.

Miska Elliot: "Neutron Scattering in Quantum Magnetism"

Neutron scattering is a useful tool to measure physical properties of solids and liquids. In this talk, I will explain why neutron scattering is a useful technique in Condensed Matter Physics, where and how contemporary neutron scattering experiments are performed, and how such experiments can be used to probe the structure and dynamics of quantum magnets.

Miska is a second-year DPhil student studying Condensed Matter Physics and working in the Quantum Magnetism and Quantum Phase Transitions research group. Her research is centred around performing neutron scattering experiments and comparing these results to contemporary theoretical models. Before undertaking postgraduate study, Miska completed an MMathPhys in Mathematical and Theoretical Physics at Magdalen College, Oxford.

Matthew Steggles: "Frontiers in Computing, both Classical and Quantum"

Computers in the regular sense are used by all of us every single day. What you might also know is that the past 5 years has seen a huge growth in quantum computing, which is bursting out of research and on the verge of becoming a full on industry. A natural question to ask is: how do we make computers, both classical and quantum, better? What problems do we need to overcome? I'm going to be talking very briefly about two unconventional approaches being taken by researchers to get around some of these problems.

Matthew Steggles is a DPhil student in Condensed Matter Physics at Oxford. He is interested in Quantum Nanoscience - chiefly the ways that quantum effects can have an influence on and be exploited in future technology, and on the flip side how we can use technology to tell us about these fascinating quantum effects.