The real cost of supersymmetry

In 1999, Dr David Berman attended a conference about string theory in Copenhagen. During the course of a rather lively conference dinner a wager was made. On one side were physicists who thought that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) would, by 2010 (subsequently extended to 2016), find evidence for the existence of supersymmetric particles, mysterious cousins of the "normal" particles like protons and electrons, that are predicted to exist by the theory known as supersymmetry. On the other side of the wager were those physicists who thought it wouldn't find them. David Berman was in the former camp.

QMUL receives prestigious award for public engagement

QMUL has been awarded the Gold Engage Watermark by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, in recognition of its public engagement work. The Engage Watermark is granted to universities in recognition of their commitment to public engagement and the Gold award is the highest level an institution can achieve at this stage of the process. 

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.

Between then and 22 April 2017, Cassini will dive through the outer edge of Saturn's rings 20 times, once every seven days. This extraordinary manoeuvre will allow the spacecraft  to get the closest look ever at Saturn's outer rings and its moons.

New sculpture inspired by string theory research.

This new work by sculptor Chris Williams was inspired by the work of the Centre for Research in String Theory here in the School of Physics and Astronomy. Entitled "Particle" it was recently exhibited in the Attic Gallery Summer exhibition. Chris works mainly in timber and draws inspiration from both terrestrial and astronomical landscapes. He continues to work on pieces inspired by contemporary physics and our understanding of the Universe, as embodied in the research on fundamental physics carried out in QMUL. Chris is a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.


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. This is in large part because monitoring and probing of the underpinning molecular machinery on the scale of nanoscopic astroglial compartments remains a challenge. We will discuss recent observations concerning morphological astroglial plasticity, the respective monitoring methods, and some of the newly emerging techniques that might help with conceptual advances in the area. 

Speaker: Professor Dmitri Rusakov, Institute of Neurology, UCL

Queen Mary astronomer nominated for WIRED Audi Innovation award

Guillem Anglada Escudé of the School of Physics and Astronomy was one of the nominees for the prestigious WIRED Scientific Breakthrough award, one of the WIRED Audi Innovation Awards for 2016, for his discovery of a planet in orbit around the nearest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri.

School students to detect cosmic rays

The Cosmic Ray Muon Research Project 2016, run by Queen Mary University of London's School of Physics and Astronomy, has been launched.

Students from five Schools* in Dulwich and Sutton have been loaned muon detectors to carry out their own explorations into the behaviour of these exotic particles. The detectors employ the same sort of technology as used in major international particle experiments such as the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Canada, a project that the QMUL Particle Physics Research Centre is directly involved with.

The students will have the opportunity to get a hands-on understanding of the type of signals observed by the professional experiments, and the methods used to sift out background noise in order to reveal the expected signal.

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. These analogs (dumb holes) can be based on a variety of waves in matter-- sound waves in a fluid, surface gravity waves in a fluid, light in medium are just some examples-- and experiments are being carried out which give strong evidence that Hawking's arguments, despite their physical problems, are correct in the real world, and thus are also correct for true black holes. This is the subject of this talk

Speaker: Professor William G. Unruh, The University of British Columbia, Canada.

Date: 28 October 2016

Venue: GO Jones LT

Time: 16:00-18:00

Refreshments will be served after the event at the GO Jones building's foyer