15 March 2012

Dr Kevin O'Keeffe was awarded the Cavendish Medal for the excellence of his research at the "SET for Britain" poster competition held on 12th March in the House of Commons.

9 February 2012

During the course of his 3 year Fellowship, Douwe will address an exciting problem in polymer dynamics – how polymers and biopolymers move through nano-pores. This is an important and topical problem due to its relevance to biomolecular transport across cell membranes, and the rapid development of experimental techniques in this area that could be used in DNA sequencing.

8 February 2012

In an article highlighted on the home page of the Physical Review Letters web site, Roger Johnson and co-workers report the highest magnetically-induced ferroelectric polarisation ever observed in a multiferroic, bringing these materials one step closer to applications in information technology. Magnetism and ferroelectricity are widely used properties to store digital information - for example in computer hard disks and chip-and-pin cards.

28 January 2012

Professor Andrew Boothroyd has been awarded the 2011 Institute of Physics Superconductivity Group Prize for his contributions to our understanding of the interplay between magnetism and superconductivity using neutron scattering techniques. Recent important contributions include studies on iron-based superconductors that show that the spin excitation spectrum extends to sufficiently high energies to mediate high-Tc superconductivity and on magnetic stripes that show they are a key ingredient in understanding the magnetic scattering in the copper oxide superconductors.

26 January 2012

An international research team lead by Dr G Gregori with fellow Oxford physicists Prof A R Bell, Dr C Murphy and Dr B Reville (from Atomic and Laser Physics) have used a laser to create magnetic fields similar to those thought to be involved in the formation of the first galaxies; findings that could help to solve the riddle of how the Universe got its magnetism.

26 January 2012

Extreme conditions of temperature and pressure found in stars have been recreated on Earth using the world's brightest X-ray source.

An international team, led by Oxford University scientists, studied how solid matter responded to X-ray laser pulses produced by the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) based in Stanford, California. The team focused the X-rays onto a spot 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair, heating a metal foil to two million degrees Celsius within a fraction of a trillionth of a second.

12 January 2012

We are immensely sad to report the death of our much-loved colleague Professor Steve Rawlings. Further details about Steve's career and contribution to the department can be found here.

Steve has for many years been a creative and inspirational colleague, and we shall miss him greatly. We ask for your forbearance at this busy and difficult time.

The heartfelt condolences and sympathies of all of us go out to his wife and family.

9 January 2012

An international team of astronomers has unveiled the latest map of the distribution of dark matter in the universe. The invisible matter has been mapped by measuring the very weak effect on the images of distant, background galaxies, being distorted as their light rays pass intervening gravitating matter on their way to our telescopes - an effect known as gravitational lensing. The results appear consistent with the current "cold dark matter" model of the universe.

14 December 2011

The star that exploded to create the nearest supernova of its type to be discovered since 1986 has been revealed by an international team including Oxford University scientists. New observations reported in two papers in this week's Nature show that a very dense, very small white dwarf star made of carbon and oxygen, orbiting another star, triggered the explosion. The observations also rule out previously popular models of what the second 'companion' star might look like.

13 December 2011

The ATLAS(*) and the CMS experiments today presented updates on their searches for Standard Model Higgs bosons. The results, though impressive, do not yet contain enough data to make any definitive statement about the existence or otherwise of the elusive Higgs.

Both experiments have managed to constrain the possible masses of the Higgs down to a narrow range. For ATLAS that range is 116-130 GeV and for CMS it is 115-127 GeV (where a GeV is approximately the mass energy of a proton).