News archive

2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The School of Physics and Astronomy has strongly contributed to the excellent results obtained in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) by QMUL, which has been ranked 9th among multi-faculty institutions in the UK.

Linking atomic structure and light emission in quantum dots

Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) are objects on the scale of nanometers that are small enough to exhibit quantum mechanical effects and their current and potential applications range from quantum computers to biological imaging. Electronic and optical properties of these systems are drastically different from those observed in the bulk form and depend strongly on the size, shape and surface conditions.


Abstract : Some 40 years ago Hawking found a remarkable contradiction: if we accept the standard behavior of gravity in regions of low curvature, then the evolution of black holes will violate quantum mechanics. Resolving this paradox would require a basic change in our understanding of spacetime and/or quantum theory. In recent years the paradox has found an interesting resolution through string theory.

Astrophysics in Antarctica - Extreme Environment for Extreme Discoveries

Antarctica has always been a fascinating place for us. Especially as the extreme environment of Antarctica is suitable for extreme science, such as neutrino and cosmic microwave background measurements. Queen Mary are hosting leading scientists from the UK who are working on astrophysics research on Antarctica. They will share their stories of extraordinary science and extraordinary discoveries!

New Projects for Extrasolar Planet Mission

Theorists invited to suggest project ideas for incusion in PLATO 2.0 at Queen Mary workshop. On the 4th and 5th of September, Queen Mary University of London will host a workshop to shape the objectives of the European Space Agency (ESA) PLATO mission.

National Student Survey Results 2014

Physics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London is ranked joint 1st in London with an overall student satisfaction rate of 94 per cent, according to the latest results of a nationwide poll of final-year undergraduates.

The Science of Slow

Dr Kostya Trachenko is interviewed by the BBC and appears on the BBC News Website discussing his experiment with bitumen.  Dr Trachenko set up the experiment together with our undergraduate students, placing bitumen in five separate funnels with different sized openings. 

50 Years of CP violation celebrated at QMUL

July 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of CP violation. This is a tiny difference between matter and antimatter that is vital for the Universe to have evolved into its matter dominated state. We heard about this discovery from one of the co-discoverers of the phenomenon, Jim Cronin. Following this talk Makoto Kobayashi, who with his collaborator Maskawa, wrote down our current model of CP violation in the CKM matrix told his part of the story. This was the start to a two day event at QMUL to explore the past (and future) studies during the 50 years of CP violation conference.

Story Collider is back in town!

Big names lined up for intimate story telling event. Join Brian Wecht's interepid troupe of story tellers as they share their experiences of science.

Ancient worlds around Kapteyn's star

An international team of astronomers led by Queen Mary's Astrophysicist Guillem Anglada-Escude, reports two new planets orbiting a very old and nearby star to the Sun. One of the newly-discovered planets could be ripe for life as it orbits at the right distance to the star to allow liquid water on its surface.

Grenville Davey and Dr David Berman in conversation

In response the exhibition Interalia 2014, CHELSEA space has invited the artist Grenville Davey to expand some of the ideas and theories that have influenced the production of the work for the show with our very own Dr David Berman, Reader in Theoretical Physics at Queen Mary University of London. Grenville Davey had a six-month residency at the School of Physics and Astronomy from December 2010.

PsiStar President Honoured

Rebecca Fickling recently won the President’s President Award for her work as the President of the PsiStar Society.

PsiStar is a large and active society and currently has 186 paid members. Rebecca has led the PsiStar committee in organising a strong and varied programme of events throughout the year, including a 200 person strong Physics and Astronomy Ball with food, wine and music. Other events include karaoke nights, summer BBQs, evening Physics and Astronomy guest lectures, trips to CERN in Switzerland, as well as the frequent pub-crawls!


Gardeners wanting to rid their spring flowerbeds of pesky snails may have to ditch the beer traps and egg shells and revert to developing a strong throwing arm, according to new research co-authored by a physicist at Queen Mary University of London.

Pint of Science

Queen Mary contribute to International Pint of Science Festival. Coming to a pub near you! The format is simple: 3 days of down-to-earth talks by top scientists in the most relaxed setting possible – the pub! With 14 universities participating and over 150 volunteers, Pint of Science Festival 2014 is not to be missed! Whether you’re a total nerd or simply enjoy a bit of a natter over some liquid refreshment, these talks will engage you with fascinating stories, discoveries and fun facts to amaze your mates.

Postgraduate Virtual Open Day

Join us for the School of Physics and Astronomy Postgraduate Virtual Open Day on Friday 23rd May. This will be the perfect opportunity for you to find out more about our postgraduate programmes through live web chat with our current postgraduate Masters and PhD students, with Prof Steve Thomas and Dr Will Sutherland, our Programme Directors, as well as Dr Alison Hartshorn, our Recruitment and Outreach Manager.

Saturn’s rings reveal how to make a moon

Writing in the journal Icarus this week, Professor Carl Murray from Queen Mary’s Astronomy Unit reports that recently discovered disturbances at the very edge of Saturn's outer bright A ring result from a small icy object that formed within the ring and which may be in the process of migrating out of it. They have nicknamed the object, ‘Peggy’.

One Man's Attempt to Explain the Big Stuff

Why do we breathe? What is money? How does the brain work? Why in the world did life invent sex when asexual reproduction is so much less bother? How does capitalism work - or not, as the case may be? Why, when we share 99 % of our DNA with chimpanzees, does the 1% make such a huge difference? How can something invisible that comes down a wire power our civilisation? How do computers work, and what will computers never be able to do?

SPA Colloquium : Showbiz Physics

Abstract : You've heard of Medical Physics, Geophysics, Astrophysics... but have you ever thought about the vital role physics plays in showbiz? Alix Pryde is the BBC's Director of Distribution. She also has a PhD in solid state physics, completed under the supervision of QML's Professor Martin Dove. She'll talk about her career journey from crystals to crystal sets and their modern equivalents.

Nuclear latency - where physics affects international peace

The SPA is very pleased to welcome Mr Matthew Machowski for the School Colloquium on Friday 14 Feb. Mr Machowski is a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Physics and Astronomy, and Visiting Fellow at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

Title: Nuclear latency - where physics affects international peace

The National Student Survey

The National Student Survey 2014 (NSS), of final year undergraduate students, officially opens at QM on Monday 13 January 2014 and closes on Wednesday 30 April 2014. The NSS website goes live on Monday 13 January, where students can complete the survey online: Students cannot complete the survey prior to Monday 13 January.

Physics Outreach draws in the crowds at largest ever Stargazing Live event

An estimated 1000 visitors flocked to Queen Mary’s inspirational Lego Universe stand at the BBC’s flagship Stargazing Live, last Thursday. Members of the public were led through a whistle-stop tour of the early universe by enthusiastic undergraduate Physics Ambassadors with the help of LEGO quarks and electrons, before helping to build a colourful two metre-wide LEGO spiral galaxy.

Nature of the New Boson: a lonely Higgs, or the first of many cousins?

The SPA is very pleased to welcome Prof. James Olsen, co-leader of the CMS Higgs group and  faculty member of the Princeton University Physics Department,  for the first Colloquium of the New Year 2014.

Colloquium of the  School of Physics and Astronomy (SPA)

"Nature of the New Boson: a lonely Higgs, or the first of many cousins?"

by Prof. James Olsen 

Particle Physics Course at Royal Institution

Dr. Eram Rizvi will be delivering a six-part course in particle physics at the Royal Institution in February. The course will examine the theoretical and experimental developments that led to the Standard Model and the Nobel Prize winning discovery of the Higgs boson. The latest results from the LHC will also be presented including searches for new physics such as quantum gravity and supersymmetry.

Visit us and be a part of BBC Stargazing Live

The School will host its own event from 6.30pm on Tuesday 7th January and will be taking part in the BBC’s regional event this Thursday 9th January as part of this week of exciting astronomy activities.