News archive

Congratulations to 2017 Physics Nobel Prize winners

The School of Physics and Astronomy offers warm congratulations to Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, recipients of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for their contributions to the detection of gravitational waves by LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory).

Cassini makes its dramatic exit

15 September.  At around 11:30 this morning the Cassini spacecraft sent its final signal to Earth as it plunged into the thick atmosphere of the planet Saturn, bringing to an end its 20-year voyage of discovery, a voyage that has provided scientists with a wealth of data about the ringed planet and its moons, and some of the most thought-provoking images ever captured.

Two postdoctoral research assistant positions

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) has two vacancies for 36 months for a Postdoctoral Research Assistants, one each in the The School of Engineering and Materials Science  and the School of Physics and Astronomy as a result of a successful EPSRC grant under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The aim of the project is to develop and investigate low cost functional carbon materials to be used as negative electrodes in Na-ion batteries. 

Searches for very rare decays of the Higgs boson by the ATLAS experiment

The Particle Physics Research Centre at QMUL have been searching for the very rare decay of the Higgs boson into two muons harvesting the data collected by the ATLAS experiment at CERN. Only one in every 5000 Higgs bosons decays in this specific way and the ATLAS team at QMUL lead by Antony Fray and Eram Rizvi have been studying this elusive decay in the last year.

We are first in London for overall student satisfaction

Physics and astronomy ranks first in London for overall student satisfaction according to the results of the 2017 National Student Survey (NSS), based on an overall satisfaction rating of 92%. The School has previously ranked first in London in the NSS in 2016, 2015, and 2014.

The Hyper-Kamiokande Project is in the MEXT Large Projects Roadmap

Hyper-Kamiokande (Hyper-K), a third-generation Water Cherenkov detector and the latest in an illustrious series of world-leading experiments located in Japan, is being developed by an international collaboration. It will take advantage of its predecessors:  the double Nobel prize winning experiment (Super-)Kamiokande and the extremely succesful K2K (1999-2004) and T2K (2010-) long baseline neutrino experiments.

T2K presents hint of CP violation by neutrinos

The international T2K Collaboration, where Queen Mary group plays significant roles, strengthened its previous hint that the symmetry between matter and antimatter may be violated for neutrino oscillation.  A preliminary analysis of T2K’s latest data rejects the hypothesis that neutrinos and antineutrinos oscillate with the same probability at 95% confidence (2σ) level.

SKA Cosmology SWG Meeting

We will be hosting a Cosmology SWG meeting at Queen Mary, University of London, in December 2017. The aim of the meeting is to discuss various cosmology-relevant topics (e.g. recent changes to the SKA specifications), and to spend time working on collaborative projects within the focus groups (e.g. developing simulations, updating the Red Book, improving requirements documents).   


Come to our Space Sound Effects Short-Film Festival

Alien may have told you “In space no one can hear you scream” but it was wrong! The SSFX Short-Film Festival has challenged independent filmmakers from around the world to create short-films incorporating a series of strange sounds from space recorded by satellites. The results are a collection of films, spanning a wide array of topics and genres, connected only by these sounds.

QMUL hosts SpaceUp London 2017

On Saturday 10 June, space enthusiasts gathered at Queen Mary University of London for SpaceUp London 2017. The day-long space extravaganza, organised by the Planetary Society, was filled with keynote talks, quick-fire talks, breakout discussions, brainstorms, and other opportunities for guests to engage with one another.

Red Dots — the hunt for planets around nearby stars resumes

Last year a team of astronomers led by Guillem Anglada Escude of the School of Physics and Astronomy, found Proxima b, an Earth-like planet in orbit around Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun — now they are looking for its siblings!

Next Undergraduate Open Day - 23rd and 24th June

Want to find out more about studying for a physics degree at QMUL?

Book a place on the University's next open day and come along to the department for taster talks, a session in our teaching laboratory, an observatory demo and more. Talk to staff and current students and get a real feel for what undergraduate life as a physicist is like.

June 15 Public Lecture: Our Home, the Milky Way Galaxy

On June 15 at 7:00pm there will be another School of Physics and Astronomy public talk. We are delighted to welcome QMUL alumna Prof. Rosemary Wyse of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, USA. Prof. Wyse is an astronomer with an international reputation whose research interests include galaxy formation, composition and evolution. She will speak about “Our Home, the Milky Way Galaxy”.

Queen Mary astronomer on Time magazine list of 100 most influential people

Astronomer Guillem Anglada-Escudé of the School of Physics and Astronomy has been named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2016. His inclusion on this prestigious list, in the Pioneers category, recognises his discovery of the exoplanet Proxima b, in orbit around the nearest star to Earth (bar the Sun, of course).

QMUL student gets a taste of astronaut training

QMUL physics student Kieran Hashmi has recently returned from the trip of a lifetime — experiencing astronaut training in Russia’s famous cosmonaut training complex.

Kieran’s visit began in Moscow’s Red Square, the scene of Yuri Gagarin’s celebratory parade after his return from space in 1961, and he also visited what remains of Russia’s own space shuttle, the Buran, which was destroyed in 2002 when its hangar collapsed.

Ancient stardust sheds light on the first stars

Astronomer Dr David Quénard of the School of Physics and Astronomy is one of the authors of a research paper, published on 8 March in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, that reports the discovery of an unexpectedly large amount of interstellar dust in a very distant galaxy. The galaxy, known as A2744_YD4, is seen only 600 million years after the Big Bang and is the most distant galaxy in which dust has been detected.

PsiStar students in visit at CERN

On Monday February 20, a delegation of PsiStar students have visited CERN and its facilities. They visited the first synchrocyclotron built at CERN in 1954 and then they went underground to visit the cathedral-size CMS and ATLAS experiments, taking data at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Space Sounds Inspire Film Competition

Filmmakers will have the chance to use real-life sound recorded from space in a new competition launched by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

QMUL launches Research in Schools report

There is a growing number of projects across the UK giving the opportunity for school students to run their own research projects. Ever wondered how the projects come together? Are you a researcher or teacher and thought about running such a project?

Farewell to Peggy

Before the Cassini spacecraft makes its final plunge into Saturn's atmosphere in September this year, one of its last acts will be to take a photo of an intriguing object that Professor Carl Murray of the School of Physics and Astronomy has been studying for nearly four years.

Twenty-fifth anniversary of the discovery of the first exoplanet

Twenty-five years ago today, on 9 January 1992, astronomers published the first unambiguous discovery of an exoplanet — a planet beyond our Solar System. Since then the search for, and study of, exoplanets has become an exciting and productive branch of astronomy, one in which researchers in Queen Mary's School of Physics and Astronomy are actively engaged.

QMUL astronomer in top ten scientists list

Dr Guillem Anglada-Escudé from the School of Physics and Astronomy has been named one of the top ten people who matter in science in 2016 by the prestigious scientific journal Nature. The annual list, known as "Nature's 10", highlights researchers from around the world who have made a major impact this year.

Cassini Crash

On 30 November 2016 NASA's Cassini spacecraft began a series of dives through Saturn's rings, the first stage in the probe's "grand finale" investigation of the gas giant planet.


Memory formation in the brain is thought to rely on the remodeling of synaptic connections which eventually results in neural network rewiring. This remodeling is likely to involve ultrathin astroglial protrusions which often occur in the immediate vicinity of excitatory synapses. The phenomenology, cellular mechanisms, and causal relationships of such astroglial restructuring remain, however, poorly understood.

Experimental Black Hole evaporation

Over the past decade it has become clear that one can, in analog systems, test Hawking's predition from 1974 that black holes have a temperature created by the properties of the metric near the horizon.

Stars get their discs in a twist

An international team of astronomers that includes Richard Nelson of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have discovered a truly unusual example of planet formation around a star.

New Earth-like planet found around nearest star

Clear evidence of a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System, has been found by an international team of scientists led by astronomers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Top for Student Satisfaction in London

The School of Physics and Astronomy has been ranked first in London for overall satisfaction for the third year running in the 2016 National Student Survey (NSS 2016). 

The results of the nationwide poll of final year undergraduates are a reflection of the School’s commitment to provide a friendly and supportive learning environment with the highest quality of teaching.

Post exam open day - Undergraduate

Thinking again about where you'd like to study next year?

Join admissions staff and current students for a laid-back event designed to give you a second chance to find out about life as a student at the School of Physics and Astronomy at QMUL.

1.00pm - 3.00pm Thursday 14th July

Register for our Undergraduate Open Day

As part of a university-wide event, we're running demonstrations, talks, tours, activities and taster lectures over two days designed to give you an insight into life as a physics student. We'll also be on hand to answer questions about applications, study options and talk about what a physics degree from QMUL can do for your future!

Student blog gets underway

The School of Physics and Astronomy student blog has picked up momentum since its launch in February. The blog now features several stories by different student bloggers covering everything from MSc project choice and revision strategies to gender equality in physics and life as a student in London.

Gabriele Travaglini receives Bessel Award

Professor Gabriele Travaglini has been awarded one of the 2016 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Awards of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The Bessel Award is given each year to researchers from all disciplines in recognition of their outstanding research record and exceptional future promise.

Cosmic Con Rounds Off Physics Research in Schools

On 21 March 2016, the Outreach team at the School of Physics and Astronomy ran the first annual Cosmic Con 2016. This student conference featured talks and posters by 15-18 year old students from 5 local schools and sixth forms, who presented the results of their six-month long independent research projects in collaboration with Queen Mary University of London.

New video: MSc programmes in Astrophysics and Physics

Hear Simon and Alex, two of our current master's level students, talk about their work at the School of Physics and Astronomy. Find out about facilities, projects, academic supervision and taught modules as well as the inspiring nature of higher level physics and astronomy. 

New MSc Astrophysics scholarships

Students enrolling on an MSc in Astrophysics in 2016 are eligible to apply for a new scholarship scheme for both home/EU students and overseas students.

The 2 amounts of £2,250 (home/EU students) and one amount of £4,500 (overseas students) and are open to students with a first class bachelor's degree (or international equivalent) in related field.

School Colloquium: Organic semiconductors - management of spin

Abstract: Pi-conjugated organic molecules and polymers now provide a set of well-performing semiconductors that support devices, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as used in smart-phone displays and lighting, field-effect transistors (FETs) and photovoltaic diodes (PVs).

Celebrate the International Women Day with SPA

SPA and the Juno Committee is celebrating the International Women's Day with a special lecture on women and physics in the developing world. Join us on Wednesday 9th March at 13:30 in the G.O.Jones Lecture Theater. Dr Kate Shaw is a particle physics researcher working in the ATLAS experiment at the CERN collider. She is also passionate ambassador of physics research in developing countries.

Half-Life: A mysterious tale of neutrinos and spies

Frank Close, acclaimed author of several books explaining physics to the general audience, will come to the School of Physics and Astronomy at QMUL on Friday March 4th at 4:15pm in the G.O.Jones Lecture Theatre. He will talk about his latest book telling the story of physicist Bruno Pontecorvo.

LIGO’s cosmological revolution heralds new age for Queen Mary Physicists

Today’s announcement from LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory) concerning gravitational waves has rekindled excitement in the amazing predictions of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The detection of these waves provides experimental verification of Einstein’s relativity in even the most extreme circumstances, the collision of two black holes.

Public Lecture on LHC Future

On 2 March 2016 18:30 we will have the next in our series of public lectures, with Dr Eram Rizvi discussing the next 20 years of the Large Hadron Collider. Having discovered the Higgs Boson in its first run, Run-2 (2015-2018) has almost doubled the energy opening up the possibility of new discoveries. The analysis of this new data is underway and initial results are starting to be released.

Postgraduate Open Evening - 10th Feb

We're running a postgraduate open evening on Wednesday the 10th Feb from 4.30 - 7.30.

If you're considering an MSc in Physics or Astrophysics, this is a great opportuntity to find out more. Join us for an evening of talks and a chance to chat to academic programme directors and admissions staff. 

Einsteins Legacy meeting

On the 28th and 29th of November we hosted a meeting to celebrate the 100th anniversary of general relativity. It was called Einstein's Legacy, and included plenary and public talks, as well as outreach events and a poster session. Around 500 people attended. Photos and videos can be found here.

School Colloquium: Antimatter particles in outer space

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) experiment operates since May 2011 on board of the International Space Station to search for primordial anti-matter, to study the light anti-matter components in the Cosmic Rays (CR) and to perform a precision study of the CR composition and energy spectrum.

Thomas Young Center (TYC Soiree): New understanding of liquids and supercritical fluids

The moving contact line problem occurs when modelling one fluid replacing another as it moves along a solid surface, a situation widespread throughout industry and nature. Classically, the no-slip boundary condition at the solid substrate, a zero-thickness interface between the fluids, and motion at the three-phase contact line are incompatible - leading to the well-known shear-stress singularity.

Cross-sections at SPA: A Business Engagement event

The School of Physics and Astronomy (SPA) is introducing a new “business club” - aimed at fostering our research connections with industry and the wider society. Today's research funding environment places a high value of impact, which creates new challenges for scientists and new opportunities for interactions between academia and  industry.

Cassini Scientist for a Day Competition

The chance for 10-18 years old UK school students to win prizes by writing about the Cassini mission at Saturn. The deadline of 5pm 26 February is fast approaching. Entrants must choose a target for the Cassini spacecraft to observe and write a 500-word essay proposal making a case to the mission planners.

PhD Open Afternoon

Meet academic staff and current students at this event designed for anyone considering a PhD in Physics or Astronomy.

Wednesday 2nd December, 12.30-4.00pm

Book a place

GO Jones Building (campus map)

Nobel Prize in Physics recognises work in major research area for QMUL

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics recognises important advances in neutrino physics, a major research area for the School of Physics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The Prize, awarded to Takaaki Kajita in Japan and Arthur B. McDonald in Canada, marks significant contributions to experiments showing that neutrinos oscillate between two different identities and therefore must have mass.

Network Geometry

Networks are mathematical structures that are universally used to describe a large variety of complex systems such as the brain or the  Internet. Characterizing the geometrical properties of these networks  has become increasingly relevant for routing problems, inference and  data mining. In real growing networks, topological, structural and  geometrical properties emerge spontaneously from their dynamical rules.

Public Lecture on Exoplanets

The next in our series of public lectures will be on Wed 21 Oct at 18:00 and will given by Professor Richard Nelson, who will be discussing the 20 years of research in extrasolar planets. More on this event and how to reserve your free place can be found here.


The QMUL Particle Physics Research Center (PPRC) is hosting the QCD@LHC conference, from the 1st to 5th of September.

National Student Survey Results 2015

Physics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London is ranked first in London for student satisfaction for the second year in a row, according to the results of a nationwide poll of final-year undergraduates.

STFC's Ernest Rutherford Fellowships

STFC's prestigious five-year fellowships are open to early career researchers of any nationality in the areas of Astronomy, Solar and Planetary Science, Cosmology, Particle Astrophysics and Particle Physics (including String Theory).

Juno Champion

QMUL’s School of Physics and Astronomy has been awarded Juno Champion Status by the Institute of Physics (IOP) in recognition of action they have taken to address the under-representation of women in university physics.

Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Particle Physics

The Particle Physics Research Centre (PPRC) in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Queen Mary, University of London has a vacancy for a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work within the Hyper-Kamiokande group on the Hyper-Kamiokande experiment. It is expected that the Postdoctoral Research Associate may also contribute to the current Super-Kamiokande experiment.

Quantum photonics with spins in semiconductor nanostructures

Electron and hole spins can be confined in a variety of semiconductor nanostructures, including quantum dots, nanowires or monolayers. These spins can have long coherence times and can be addressed using ultra-fast optical techniques. This makes them very suitable for quantum photonics, which promises advances in fields such as quantum communication, sensing and computation.

Solar Eclipse LIVE from QM

Catch the eclipse of the century from our Observatory

In case you hadn't heard, there'll be a solar eclipse this Friday 20th March between 08:25-10:40 the likes of which won't be seen in the UK again until 2090. We'll be taking advantage of the solar telescope in our observatory by streaming this monumental event live from London.

Sino-British workshop on molecular magnetism

As part of the Queen Mary University of London and Peking University joint research project on Molecular Magnetism, we will be holding a 1-day workshop to disseminate key results of the project, and open up a wider debate in the UK and Chinese scientific communities on open problems in molecular magnetism. Presentations will be given by academics and researchers involved in the project, as well as those from external institutions.

UK Cosmology Meeting

On the 27th February, the cosmology group in the Astronomy Unit hosted the UK Cosmology Meeting. This is a triannual informal meeting of the UK theoretical cosmology community and features short talks from young and experienced researchers alike. The meeting was a huge success with roughly 60 cosmologists attending from as far away as Edinburgh.

Particle Physics Masterclasses

Talk to scientists at CERN, work with real particle physics data and attend particle physics lectures on these day-long Masterclasses.


In the laboratories of Airbus Defence and Space Ltd, in Stevenage (UK), engineers and scientists are developing the ExoMars Rover, which will be sent to Mars in 2018. One of the objectives of the ExoMars mission, a joint enterprise of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), is to search for possible bio-signatures of life on Mars.

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.

Postgraduate Open Evening

Our Postgraduate Open Evening will give you the chance to find out more about the world-class facilities and teaching at Queen Mary, University of London.

Come and discover the many benefits and opportunities you can experience as a Queen Mary postgraduate student.


Prospective masters and research students attending the event will be able to:

Undergraduate Virtual Open Day

Join us for the School of Physics and Astronomy Undergraduate Virtual Open Day this Wednesday 4th December. This will be the perfect opportunity for you to find out more about our BSc programmes through live web chat with Prof Francesca Di Lodovico, our Director of Admissions and Natasha Chappell, the Student Support Officer; as well as our current students.

Postdoctoral position in CRST

The School of Physics and Astronomy at Queen Mary, University of London has been awarded funding for a Postdoctoral Research Assistant position in the CRST.

Quantum: a journey through the Standard Model

Our very own Dr David Berman will deliver the keynote lecture for the exhibition “Quantum, A journey through The Standard Model”.  The exhibition involves 11 artists who have grappled with the mind-bending ideas behind modern physics with some unexpected outcomes. The exhibition is a visual conversation between the participating artists about The Standard Model of Particle Physics through a diversity of disciplines.

Maths/Physics Dialogue

We have started a series of Maths/Physics seminars at the interfaces of theoretical physics with mathematics.

Story Collider at the Inside Out Festival

Brian Wecht from the Centre for Research in String Theory will be hosting one of his Story Collider events this week, Thursday 24 October, as part of the Culture Capital Exchange's "Inside Out" Festival. This event is a part of an ongoing outreach project started by Brian a few years ago in New York and features a variety of people telling true stories about their experiences with science.

Dr David Berman at the Inside Out Festival

Nothing succeeds like Success. Or so we’re told. So bombarded are we by stories and images of successful people, products, projects and places that we can actually forget that Failure really does exist.

Discovery of different regimes in supercritical fluids

Our researchers in the Centre for Condensed Matter and Materials Physics in the School have discovered surprising properties of supercritical fluids: substances at a temperature and pressure above the critical point, which is the point at which there are no phase boundaries between the liquid and gas phases.

QMUL hosts CRIM 2013

CCMMP at Queen Mary are hosting Current Research in Magnetism (CRIM), with support from the Materials Research Institute and the IOP Magnetism Group.

Successful Launch of the Materials Research Institute

Professor Jeremy Kilburn (Vice-Principal for Science and Engineering) and Professor Martin Dove (Director) launched the Materials Research Institute at Queen Mary on Monday the 15th April 2013.

The afternoon consisted of talks from Queen Mary academics and internationally-acclaimed experts, who presented recent developments in the area of materials research.

Dr Tom Whyntie on the beginning of the universe

How did the universe begin -- and how is it expanding? Our visiting academic, Dr Tom Whyntie, shows how cosmologists and particle physicists explore these questions by replicating the heat, energy, and activity of the first few seconds of our universe, from right after the Big Bang.

Celebrating International Women's Day

8 March is International Women’s Day, giving us an opportunity to celebrate the impressive achievements of the women in our School, and the recognition the School has received for creating a supportive workplace for both sexes.  Today sees the launch of our new Hemera Scholarship that will support a female undergraduate applicant from a family or societal background in which women h

Junk the Jargon

On Wednesday 27 February, ten PhD students from QM competed in the annual Junk the Jargon competition. Junk the Jargon challenges participants to communicate their research topic in an engaging and fun way to a broad audience - in just three minutes.

Juno Practitioner Status

The School of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to announced that it has been awarded Juno Practitioner status by the Institute of Physics. The aim of Juno is to recognise and reward departments that can demonstrate they have taken action to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage

Queen Mary Physics and Astronomy Ball

The PsiStar committee has been working tirelessly on putting together a big celebratory event to recognise the hard work of everyone within the department; undergraduates, postgraduates, and staff alike. As a result we are pleased to announce the inaugural Queen Mary Physics and Astronomy Ball which will take place on 1st March this year at the Ecology Pavilion in Mile End Park (less than a 5 minute walk from campus).

Mini-jets make the Top 10!

Work carried out by planetary scientists in the Astronomy Unit has been chosen as one of the Top 10 Science Highlights of NASA's Cassini mission in 2012.  Nick Attree, Carl Murray, Nick Cooper and Gareth Williams reported their work on trails, or "mini-jets", in Saturn's peculiar F ring in April 2012.  The image was taken with Cassini's narrow angle camera just after the spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn on 1 July 2004.

Millenium Maths Project award

Dr David Berman has been awarded an STFC grant of  £10,000 to support a collaboration with the Millennium Mathematics Project in Cambridge to develop web resources for schools.

UK and China seek cooperation opportunities in fusion energy

Experts from the School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary, University of London, form part of the British fusion energy delegation visiting China to enhance collaboration on fusion energy decommissioning and waste disposal. The full report can be found on he website of the British Embassy in Beijing.

ELS 007 Research Writing Workshop

In cooperation with the Language and Learning Unit, we have set up a new in-session writing course designed for our PhD students. The course is aimed at developing academic writing skills. The course will include several paper- and thesis-writing sessions with the feedback to follow, and should assist students in their current and future writing of scientific papers, PhD theses, and other academic and professional contributions.

VISTA creates huge nine-gigapixel zoomable image of 84 million stars

A nine-gigapixel zoomable image of 84 million stars has been created by an international team of astronomers using the UK-built VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory. The image is so large that, if printed with the resolution of the average book, it would be nine metres long and seven metres tall.

QM Physics Mobile App

The School's new iPhone app QM Physics is now available in the Apple app store. We are also working on an android version and this will be released soon.

Inside Out Festival

Dr David Berman will appear in a panel discussion as part of the opening of the "Inside Out" festival organised by the London Cultural exchange. The disuccsion will cover, Life the universe and everything. Other panelists include, Professor of Christianity and the Arts, Ben Quash; Prof. Simon Wessely (Head of Psychological medicine at Kings College) and Dr Shahidha Bari cofounder of "How to live", salon.

National Student Survey Results

Results from the NSS show that the QM School of Physics and Astronomy has 97% student satisfaction - top in the Russell Group, top in London and second highest in the UK. More details on the College's rankings are available here.



The Higgs "seen" at CERN

CERN researchers working on the LHC have announced that they have discovered a particle where they would expect to find a Higgs boson. The announcement is a step forward for modern physics and Queen Mary has contributed technical expertise, engineering experience and computing resources to this work. The announcement however is not a categorical declaration of the Higgs existence or how it fits into the larger picture. 

T2K strikes back after the earthquake

One year after the magnitudo 9 earthquake that hit Japan in 2011, T2K started to take data again. After 3 months of data taking, the first results from T2K after the earthquake were presented at the Neutrino 2012  conference in Kyoto, Japan. The T2K collaboration presented new results on electron neutrino appearance from muon neutrino that confirmed their previous published results in PRL, in July 2011, which reported the first single experimental indication that θ13 is non-zero and large with a 2.5 σ level of significance.

BaBar Tests the Standard Model

BaBar recently unveiled two results that test the limits of the Standard Model of Particle Physics.  Both of these were shown at the Flavor Physics and CP Violation (FPCP 2012) conference in China during May.  The first of these was a measurement of B mesons decaying into a final state containing either a Dτν or a D*τν.  Too many events were found, and the combination of these measurements is in tension with the Standard Model, the measured result is 3.4σ from what was expected, with a p value of 6.9×10-4

Physics Across Disciplines

The School of Physics and Astronomy  (SPA) organised an afternoon event on the theme of "Physics across Disciplines" in May 2012. There were four talks, one from  each of the research groups of the newly merged SPA. Further details can be found here.

Wednesday 9th May 2012 15.30-20.00

G O Jones Lecture Theatre

Glittering Trails

PASADENA, Calif. - Scientists working with images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have discovered strange half-mile-sized (kilometer-sized) objects punching through parts of Saturn's F ring, leaving glittering trails behind them.

New Staff

The School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary, University of London, is pleased to announce the following new lecturers from 2012/13: Dr Brian Wecht (from Harvard), Dr Jon Hays (from Imperial College), and Dr Tim Clifton (from Oxford). Ms Susan Benedict also joins us from Maths as our new Teaching Administrator.

Queen Mary, University of London to join Russell Group of universities

Queen Mary, University of London has been invited to become a member of the Russell Group of universities, with effect from August 2012. The invitation to join the Russell Group is an acknowledgment of Queen Mary’s quality and status as a top-class research-led institution. Queen Mary will join the Russell Group alongside fellow new members, the Universities of Durham, York and Exeter.

LHC to Increase Beam Energy

The LHC will increase the proton beam energy to 4 TeV per beam when it restarts operation in March. The mass range available to the Higgs particle is already narrowed to a window of just 16 GeV. The ATLAS and CMS experiments have seen hints that a Higgs might exist in the mass range 124-126 GeV. To discover, or to rule out the Standard Model Higgs altogether, requires one more year’s worth of data.

HEPP and APP group Annual Meeting

The 2012 annual gathering of the High Energy Particle Physics and Astro Particle Physics groups of the IoP will take place at Queen Mary, University of London's Mile End Road Campus. The programme will encompass activities in both High Energy and Astro Particle fields as well as discussing the synergies between them. Talks will include the latest results from the LHC, up to date reports on neutrino, charged lepton and quark flavour physics, Dark Matter searches, nuclear astrophysics, gravitational waves, and a topical review of early cosmic ray discoveries.

Particle Physics Course at the Royal Institution

Dr. Eram Rizvi will be delivering a six-part course in particle physics at the Royal Institution in February. The evening lectures are aimed at those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of particle physics going beyond a single lecture. The course will examine the theoretical and experimental developments that led to the  Standard Model.

Leverhulme Trust Award

The School of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to announce that the Leverhulme Trust has awarded Queen Mary, University of London over £158,000 for a research project conducted by Dr David Tsikaluri.  The research project titled, Advanced model of solar radio bursts via plasma kinetic simulation, will run for three years.  

Astronomy PhD Positions Available

The Astronomy Unit has a number of funded PhD studentships available for UK, EU and International applicants. The deadline for applications is 31st January 2012 (although later applications may also be considered). Students will join an active research centre involved in a broad range of activities from cosmology to solar system science.

Particle Physics PhD Positions Available

The Particle Physics Research Centre has a number of funded PhD studentships available for UK, EU and International applicants. The deadline for applications is 31st January 2012. Students will join an active group involved in a broad range of activities including neutrino physics, LHC physics and R&D for future experiments.

Launch of new School of Physics and Astronomy

We are celebrating the launch of the new School of Physics and Astronomy with an afternoon of non-specialist talks highlighting the research done in our four Research Centres. These will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday 31st January 2012.

Two PhD Studentships in Particle Physics Phenomenology

We are delighted to offer two studentships in particle physics phenomenology in the area of neutrino physics. The two studentship projects are  “From low energy neutrino experiments to the early Universe and back”, joint studentship with Southampton University, and "Probing New Physics Mechanisms of Lepton Number Violation at SNO+" based at QMUL and with formal links with the University of Sussex and University College London.

ATLAS and CMS release an update on SM Higgs boson search

On December 13th, 2011 the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented the status of their searches for the Standard Model Higgs boson in a seminar at CERN. Both experiments have seen hints of Higgs boson production in the mass range of 120-130 GeV, but not significant enough to prove the Higgs particle existence. Instead, they have limited its possible existence within the mass ranges of 116-130 GeV (ATLAS) and 115-127 GeV (CMS).

Smaller is Stronger

Metal foils much thinner than a human hair show greater strength than expected. The picture shows that this strength depends only on the size, not on the material properties of the particular metal. These two foils are 10 microns thick, one is nickel and the other copper. They have been annealed to give a large grain size (about 20 microns in both) and bent around the mandrel (the end of which just be seen at the bottom right of the picture.

Meeting on Low Scale Quantum Gravity

A meeting on low energy scale quantum gravity will be hosted by the Particle Physics Research Centre on 7th December. The Meeting seeks to review the status of quantum gravity searches and phenomenology. Latest results from the LHC experiments will be discussed and developments in theoretical approaches will be reviewed. The meeting is free for all researchers.

Postgraduate Open Evening

Join us on our Open Evening on Wednesday 1 February 2012 to find out more about the world-class facilities and research in the School of Physics & Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London. To book a place, please visit this webpage.

Flow Motion

Explore string theory's equations, aesthetics and cultural connections. Flow Motion (multimedia artists Anna Piva and Edward George), David Berman and James Sparks discuss their collaboration and its themes: dimensionality and experience, space and perception, representation and transformation.

New PhD Positions Available

We are pleased to announce two PhD places, available for intake in September 2012 to work on the SNO+ experiment in the particle physics group. These posts, funded by a European Research Council grant are in addition to PhD positions funded through the college and STFC. More details of the SNO+ experiment can be found here.

Neutrino speed at OPERA

An intriguing measurement by the OPERA collaboration may bring into question a long-held consequence of Special Relativity: no matter can travel faster than the speed of light in vacuum. The OPERA experiment measured the neutrino speed faster than the speed of light, where neutrinos were measured arriving at the detector 60ns ahead of the light. The distance traveled between source and detector was 735km. QMUL Particle Physicists are well placed to verify this at the T2K neutrino experiment in the future with an improved system.

Researchers' Night

Building a Lego universe, discovering the computer wizardry behind magic tricks and tracking emotions on Twitter are just some of the fun ways Londoners can learn about cutting-edge research at Queen Mary, University of London on Friday 23 September.

Queen Mary announces Excellence Scholarships of £3,000 a year

Queen Mary, University of London is announcing new additions to its generous range of scholarships for high-achieving home students. Excellence Scholarships – worth £3,000 a year – in Science and Engineering and Modern Foreign Language are part of QM’s approach to encourage the best qualified students into subject areas which have been identified as essential to UK economic growth, and which are highly sought after by employers.

The ATLAS experiment narrows the range in the search for the Higgs boson

The ATLAS experiment presented its latest results on the search for the Higgs boson at the Lepton Photon 2011 symposium in Mumbai, India (22-27 Aug.). This constrains the hypothetical Higgs boson to have a mass either in a narrow range between 115 and 146 GeV or a set of higher, unfavored, values.

1st Anglo-Chinese workshop on spin interactions in organic semiconductors

CCMMP will be holding the 1st Anglo-Chinese workshop on spin interactions in organic semiconductors at QMUL on the 18th August. The meeting will be attended by 5 physicists from Fudan University, China led by Prof Chang-Qin Wu. The aim of the meeting is to develop collaborative links in organic electronics and organic spintronics between QMUL and Fudan university.

New School of Physics and Astronomy

We are very pleased to announce the new School of Physics and Astronomy, bringing together the School of Physics and the Astronomy Unit, on August 1st 2011.

Undergraduate Prizes 2010/11

School of Physics: Undergraduate Prizes 2010/11 go to Dominic Bellamy (E J Wignall Prize), Andrew Bond (E J Irons Prize), David Holford (College Prize for Academic Excellence), Jasvir Bhamrah Harley (F Alan Smith Prize for Continued Academic Excellence), Om Jha (G O Jones Prize for Academic Excellence), and Georgia Wright (College Prize for Academic Excellence).

New European Research Council Award

We are very pleased to announce the recent award of a prestigious five year European Research Council Fellowship to Dr. Jeanne Wilson for Probing fundamental properties of the neutrino at the SNO+ Experiment. This grant of €1,345,000 will fund her research work on the SNO+ experiment, probing the fundamental nature of the neutrino and its possible mass and measuring low energy solar neutrino fluxes which will provide an accurate test of the mysterious oscillation of neutrinos from one type into another.

HINTS consortium kick-off

The HINTS consortium, a team of European academic and industry researchers, has recently had its project kick-off meeting in Bologna, Italy. Funded by the European Union Framework Programme 7 under the NMP theme, the €3.9M project will develop and deliver innovative hybrid organic-inorganic materials with engineered spin transfer efficiency at the hybrid interface.

New T2K Result

The T2K QMUL neutrino group (, contributed to the ground-breaking result of the first indication of muon into electron neutrinos appearance announced today by the T2K collaboration. This could be the gateway to the resolution of one of the biggest mysteries in fundamental physics – where did the matter in the universe come from?

Explorations in Eleven Dimensions

Anna Piva & Edward George, in collaboration with Dr. David Berman, Reader in Theoretical Physics at Queen Mary, are developing Explorations in Eleven Dimensions, a multimedia art installation and sound art performance based on a series of sonic, visual, and textual readings of string theory’s equations, themes and aesthetic concerns.

Forthcoming conferences

The PPRC group is hosting two half-day meetings of the Institute of Physics, one on Neutrino Oscillations Status (April 18th) and one on Top Quark Physics (May 18th).

Astronomy event for Alumni and Friends

Professor Jim Emerson spoke about the building of VISTA, the largest infra-red survey telescope in the world, and Professor Richard Nelson gave a talk about planetary systems in the galaxy. Saturday 26th March

Marcus Chown lecture

Marcus Chown, Queen Mary alumnus and award-winning writer, broadcaster and successful iPad app author, will be talking at Queen Mary about his work and career. Thursday 19th May.

New staff

The School of Physics, Queen Mary, University of London, is welcoming four new academic staff for 2010/11, three from Cambridge and one from Michigan/Harvard, plus four new administrative staff, two new postdoctoral researchers and nineteen new PhD students.

New Centre for Condensed Matter and Materials Physics

We are pleased to announce the establishment of a new Centre for Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, starting from May 1st 2011. The new Centre will be headed by Professor Martin Dove, joining us from the University of Cambridge.

QM Physicists in major new particle physics facility in Europe

Dr. Adrian Bevan, together with other members from the School of Physics are playing a leading role in the foundation of a major new 500M Euro laboratory to be built in Italy. This "super-B" laboratory will be dedicated to the search for new physics at high energy in a complementary way to the high-energy Large Hadron Collider...

VISTA into the Blue Lagoon

The international telescope consortium VISTA, led by Queen Mary astronomers, has been exploring the Milky Way using infra-red radiation, opening new windows into the core regions previously obscured by dust. The Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius has recently been mapped, showing fine detail in this active star-formation area and expanding our knowledge of how our galaxy formed.