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). This was one of the most exciting results ever in the field of exoplanet research and has been widely reported in the scientific and popular media. The planet, which has a mass just a little larger than the Earth’s, lies within the habitable zone around its host star, where liquid water could be present on the planet’s surface — making it a candidate for the existence of some kind of life.

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.

‘Cosmic Con’ showcases school students’ space research

School pupils from across London presented their cutting-edge physics research at a conference hosted by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

‘Cosmic Con’ was the culmination of months of work from the schools which undertook projects on planet hunting, detecting cosmic rays and analysing sounds recorded in space by satellites.

The schools were introduced to the research by QMUL’s Research in Schools programme which set students up to work on projects and allowed them to design and conduct their own studies in small groups. The results were then presented at the People’s Palace on March 29.

Pale Red Dot wins Guardian University Award for Research Impact

At a ceremony on 28 March it was announced that Queen Mary University of London has won the prestigious Guardian University Award for Research Impact, for the Pale Red Dot campaign which culminated in the discovery of a planet in orbit around Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Solar System. Pale Red Dot was a web-based public outreach campaign that provided a unique insight into the process behind the science. A collaboration between QMUL and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), whose telescopes played a vital role in collecting the highly accurate data needed, the Pale Red Dot campaign brought progress reports, blog posts and exciting images to a global public audience.

Stargazing evening with Queen Mary astronomers: 4 April

To mark Global Astronomy Month, and following on from the BBC's Stargazing Live TV programmes, the School of Physics and Astronomy is holding an evening of astronomical entertainment at the Mile End campus on Tuesday 4 April. Talks, exhibits and, weather permitting, a chance to view the skies through our telescopes on the lawn. Further details can be found here.

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. The presence of the dust tells us that even at this early stage, the first giant stars had lived out their lives, exploding as supernovae and ejecting the dust into the interstellar space around them. For the full story, see here.

Image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA, ESA, ESO and D. Coe (STScI)/J. Merten (Heidelberg/Bologna)

PsiStar students in visit at CERN

QMUL 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).

Professor Sir Peter Mansfield (1933-2017)

It is sad to announce the recent passing of Professor Sir Peter Mansfield, who studied Physics at Queen Mary College, graduating in 1959 before moving to Nottingham University. Professor Mansfield made several key contributions in the the field of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, leading to the development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for medical applications. Together with Paul Lauterbur of the University of Illinois he shared the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.