Quantum Materials Seminars

This July, we ran an exciting programme of talks taking you on a tour through the fascinating world of Quantum Materials.

All the talks have been recorded and will be available on our YouTube channel

This series of short online seminars is 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 in Quantum Materials and what it is like to carry out this cutting-edge research.

Each seminar is 30-40 minutes long, which includes a 10-20 minute Q&A following the talks. You can watch the recorded seminars on our YouTube channel

The Seminars

8th July - 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.

14th July - 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.

21st July - 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.

28th July - 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.