‘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. 

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).

While the trailer for the movie Alien may have told us: “In space, no one can hear you scream” recordings of sounds from space by satellites seem to suggest otherwise. These unusual noises recorded over eight years have been sped up and amplified so they can be heard by the human ear for the first time. The recordings are free to download for filmmakers to use – and potentially win £2,000 worth of prizes.

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?

Physicists at Queen Mary University of London, have been running Research in Schools projects over the last two years. Through this time they have come across different challenges in setting up and running said projects. In this report Dr Martin Archer looks back and highlights what has worked and what didn’t come together from these projects. These along with the report’s conclusions and recommendations make it essential reading for those looking to set-up similar projects.