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).

23 November 2011

A new approach to measure the mechanical properties of living cells has been developed by researchers at Oxford Physics and Purdue University’s Birck Nanotechnology Center.This new technology could be used to diagnose human disease and better understand biological processes.

17 November 2011

The LHCb experiment this week announced at the HCP Symposium in Paris a result which, if confirmed, would most likely be the first measurement performed at the LHC at CERN that cannot be understood within the long-established Standard Model of particle physics. This will require a deeper theory of 'new physics' to explain. Oxford is a founding member of the LHCb collaboration and Oxford physicists Mat Charles and Guy Wilkinson were lead analysts in the study presented in Paris.

8 November 2011

Condensed Matter Physics is pleased to announce that Johannes Moeller, first year research student, has been awarded the Arthur H Cooke Memorial Prize 2011 for distinguished work by a first year research student.
Well done, Johannes!

20 October 2011

Research by Oxford atmospheric physicist Karen Aplin with Paul Williams from Reading University's meteorology department was featured on Radio 4's PM programme on 19th October. Karen and Paul are publishing a paper in the Royal Meteorological Society's journal Weather about the representation of weather in classical orchestral music.