2019 Welcome Event participants at the TIC, Strathclyde

In October we welcomed nearly 90 of our latest cohort of PhD students from across our member institutions. Meeting at the Technology & Innovation Centre at the University of Strathclyde, the day introduced the group to the SUPA research themes and the fantastic research within them, had a research highlight talk from Daniele Faccio (Glasgow) on his ground-breaking research into quantum and computational imaging, heard from final year student Araceli Venegas-Gomez (Strathclyde) on her career journey and how to get the most from your PhD, and a talk from Stuart Reid (Strathclyde) on the benefits of public engagement. There was also a quiz (some trivia, some important information about SUPA processes!), and a 'mystery box' activity where the students learnt about undertaking collaborative research, communication and got to know one another.

Group photo of attendees of SUSSP75 at St Andrews

The joint 75th SUSSP and 20th STFC Summer School in Nuclear Physics and its Applications was held at St Andrews University, 5th-17th of August, organised by Daria Sokhan (Glasgow) and Alessandro Pastore (York). It followed the International Nuclear Physics Conference which ran in Glasgow and we are delighted to report that it was a great success, with the largest number of attendees to date: 59 students, out of which 46 were from the nine UK nuclear physics groups (33 of them STFC-funded) and 13 came from institutions outside of the UK: Armenia, Germany, India, Italy, Poland/Russia, Slovenia, South Africa and Switzerland.

 

David Ireland opening the INPC 2019 conference in Glasgow

The 27th International Nuclear Physics Conference (INPC 2019) was held in Glasgow this summer (29 July to 2 August). Held every three years,
INPC is the biggest conference in the world for fundamental nuclear physics, and is overseen by the International Union of Pure and Applied
Physics (IUPAP). This was the first time it had been held in Scotland, with previous conferences having been in locations such as Adelaide, Florence and Vancouver.

Over 650 delegates from 32 countries were welcomed by Baillie John Kane, representing Glasgow's Lord Provost, and to Scotland by Ivan McKee MSP, representing the Scottish government. The programme covered the very latest work across the whole range of topic areas in Nuclear Physics, from the study of hadrons to the heaviest nuclei, and the role of nuclear physics in our understanding of the universe. The importance of applications of nuclear science was also highlighted. In addition to the SUPA-sponsored public lecture, an outreach programme was put together by teams from Glasgow and York, featuring amongst other things a chart of nuclides built from lego.

2018 new SUPA students at Welcome Event at St Andrews

The SUPA Welcome Event 2019 - 17 October 2019

17 October 2019, Technology & Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde.

The Welcome Event is a chance for new students to meet fellow new students, hear about what SUPA is and what we do for our students through the Graduate School, hear about the research highlights across our seven themes, hear from current PhD students, and discover the benefits and opportunities of public engagement.

International Nuclear Physics Conference banner image

The International Nuclear Physics Conference is coming to Glasgow at the end of July, SUPA is sponsoring the public lecture given by University of Surrey's Professor Jim Al-Khalili, and everyone is invited!

Nuclear Physics and the Making of the Modern Periodic Table

Tuesday 30 July 2019

SEC, Glasgow

Nothing epitomises the field of chemistry more than the periodic table of elements, a classification and ordering of all the different types of atoms in existence on a grid that can be found on the walls of every school chemistry laboratory in the world. And yet, for more than half of the 150 years since the periodic table was first proposed by the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869, it has been nuclear physicists, not chemists, who have been adding elements to it. To date, in nuclear accelerator labs around the world, 26 transuranic elements have been discovered, the heaviest of which being element 118, named Oganesson.

Through this SFC-supported collaborative project involving SUPA, life sciences pool SULSA and medical imaging pool, SINAPSE, we are exploring ways to build on Scotland’s existing research and industry strengths in this important cross-disciplinary area.  A range of activities are mapping current university and industry activities and trialling ways of supporting new collaborative activities across academia and industry.

SUPA was shortlisted for a 2019 Herald Higher Education Award, in the 'Innovative use of technology' category. The shortlisting recognises our video classroom network, enabling physics doctoral students from all over Scotland to learn from experts in any of the eight SUPA universities. 

The award ceremony took place on 5 June 2019 in Glasgow. We lost out to the University of Edinburgh,  but it was fantastic to be shortlisted alongside some excellent and innovative projects.

More information on the awards can be found on the event website. 

Optical imaging seed funding available

The Scottish Funding Council recently awarded strategic funds to a joint initiative involving the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA), Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance (SULSA) and Scottish Imaging Network (SINAPSE) to develop and expand academic, clinical and industrial collaborations in Scotland around optical imaging.

Proof of Principle funding up to £5,000 is now available to support research or partnership activity with industry in order to drive novel optical imaging research in the context of life sciences and medicine. Projects that bridge the different research pools are strongly encouraged.

Closing date for applications is Friday 26 April 2019 at Noon. More information about this call, and the application form, can be found here.

Outstanding academics and celebrated professionals join Scotland’s National Academy

Scotland's National Academy, the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), has announced the names of 62 people becoming Fellows of the RSE this year. Hailing from sectors that range from the arts, business, science and technology and academia, they join the current RSE Fellowship whose varied expertise supports the advancement of learning and useful knowledge in Scottish public life.

SUPA is particularly pleased to note a number of its members being recognised:

Prof Stuart Reid, University of Strathclyde

Prof Robert Hadfield, University of Glasgow

Prof Gail McConnell, University of Strathclyde

Prof Jan Skakle, University of Aberdeen

In addition, Dr John Nicholls of M Squared Lasers has also been awarded Fellowship.

For information on all of this year's awardees, please visit the RSE news pages.

Images of the exhibition and poster sessions at the SUPA Annual Gathering 2019

Weds 29 May, Technology & Innovation Centre, Strathclyde

The SUPA Gathering has built a reputation over the past 4 years as a showcase and celebration of world class physics research in Scotland. As well as talks highlighting some of the latest advances in physics research across all of the SUPA Themes, the programme offers examples of career opportunities for early career researchers, poster competition, and exhibition.

The 2019 Annual Gathering was very well attended, with 300 people from across SUPA universities and partners coming to the Technology & Innovation Centre at the University of Strathclyde.

This year's exhibition focussed on the impact of physics from both industry and academia, with over 20 exhibitors eager to talk to participants about the impact of their research and products.

Scottish innovation and collaboration have been highlighted in a new video produced for the APS March Meeting in Boston. Featuring interviews with our academics, researchers and the Chief Scientific Advisor for Scotland, the video highlights our strengths across our seven research themes, and our Graduate School, providing advanced training for our doctoral students.

The APS March meeting is held each year in Boston, USA, for more than 11,000 attendees from academia, industry and major labs.

See the full video here.

CERN Update: LHCb discovers new baryon with two charm quarks 

Paul Soler, Professor in Experimental Particle Physics at the University of Glasgow, said in a statement: “This is the first time that a baryon has been conclusively observed containing two heavy charm quarks and is a new frontier in understanding the strong force that binds quarks together.” [Newsweek]

On the 6th of July 2017, Dr Patrick Spradlin, a SUPA physicist from the University of Glasgow, announced the discovery of a new baryon, called the Ξcc++, at the European Physical Society High Energy Physics (EPS-HEP) Conference held in Venice (Italy). The analysis was carried out by SUPA physicists working on the LHCb experiment at CERN. The findings are published in Physical Review Letters.

 On the 4th January 2017 a third gravitational wave signal (GW170104) was detected by both of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors further establishing the era of gravitational wave astronomy .

This week, the LHCb experiment at CERN's Large Hadron Collider announced the discovery of five new resonances (very short-lived particles), known as excited Ωc (Omega_c) baryons. Baryons are composed of three fundamental particles called quarks. Well-known examples of baryons are the protons and neutrons that are found in atomic nuclei. A proton is made of two “up” quarks and one “down” quark, bound together via the strong nuclear force. The Ωc baryons are similar, but they are made from two “strange” quarks and one “charm” quark. These are like heavier (i.e., more massive) versions of the up and down quarks. The Ωc baryons do not exist inside atomic nuclei and can only be produced on earth in certain particle physics experiments such as the CERN Large Hadron Collider.

SUPAscope

 

The “SUPAscopes” are three identical 1m robotic telescopes located at top observatory sites spread around the southern hemisphere: Siding Spring Observatory (Australia), South African Astronomical Observatory, and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (Chile). Our capital investment has been turned into a share of the larger world-spanning LCO (Las Cumbres Observatory) network of 0.4m, 1m, and 2m telescopes, with a partnership agreement enabling collaborative projects with LCO and further network partners.

 

By providing round-the-clock access to the night sky, the LCO/SUPAscope network enables quasi-uninterrupted time series observations with both multi-filter imagers and spectrographs, and is the leading facility of its kind in the world. The automated scheduling of the telescopes allows for fast response via software interfaces.

 

Outstanding Academics, Celebrated Professionals and Royalty Join Scotland’s National Academy

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) is delighted to announce that HRH The Duke of Cambridge has been elected to become an RSE Royal Honorary Fellow. We much look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with HRH, as we have with our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen, and our other Royal Fellows.¹

The SUPA Careers Event 2016 took place at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on 6th December. In keeping with the format used successfully in the past, we had a range of speakers from various industries who gave a brief introduction and then took part in round table sessions where delegates had the opportunity to chat with the speakers, ask questions, and get an insight into a variety of career options. 

The SUPA careers event is designed to demonstrate the wide range of careers open to people with a physics PhD. The 80 student attendees heard from nine speakers who have careers in everything from satellites to software start-ups, including academia, finance, patent law and medical physics. Following brief introductions, the speakers spent 10 minutes with small groups of students to discuss their careers in detail before moving on to speak to other groups. 

CV clinics were provided by Vishanti Fox of the Institute of Physics (IoP), and careers advisors Keith Kilgore (HW), Helen Stringer (UoE) and Katrina Garder (UoG).

An exhibition of Scottish Physics employers included representatives from M2 Lasers, Textesor, Leonardo, Coherent and the IoP.

MagTEM at the University of Glasgow

In 2012 the Materials and Condensed Matter Physics Group opened the MagTEM facility at the University of Glasgow. MagTEM is a JEOL ARM (Atomic Resolution Microscope) 200cF which is a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) with aberration correction provided by CEOS. Aberration correction allows world leading performance of this instrument, and the capability of the instrument is summarised below: