05/2019: Electron Microscopes (C. Allen)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 16 May 2019 from 19:00 for 19:30

King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: Imaging atoms in an electron microscope – the ultimate tool for materials science

Why is one material brittle and another ductile? What determines the electrical conductivity of a material? How can we increase the energy storage capacity of battery materials? To understand why a material has particular physical properties we need complete knowledge of its atomic structure. Modern transmission electron microscopes (TEM) allow us to directly visualise the atomic structure of materials increasing our understanding of why it behaves as it does and ultimately enabling the engineering of superior materials. Unfortunately the image formation mechanism for electron images is not trivial, being fundamentally quantum mechanical in nature, and as such great care must be taken to correctly acquire and interpret images.

In this talk I will give an introduction to the TEM and the various image formation mechanisms we can exploit. I will show how TEM imaging can be applied to a wide range of materials science problems from failure of jet engine turbine blades to degradation of lithium-ion batteries and studying novel low-dimensional materials.

Speaker: Dr Christopher Allen

Dr Chris Allen is principal scientist at the UK’s national facility for aberration corrected electron microscopy, the Electron Physical Sciences Imaging Centre (ePSIC), Diamond light source. Chris completed his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in physics at the University of Leeds. In 2011 Chris moved to the University of Oxford and since 2016 has been running the microscopes at ePSIC. Chris’s personal research focuses on the application of novel electron imaging techniques to low dimensional materials.

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04/2019: Multiverse (D. Kodwani)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 18 April 2019 from 19:00 for 19:30

King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: The Big Bang and a Multiverse

Our current understanding of the universe relies on the big bang model that describes the beginning of the universe. This description, coupled with the evolution of the universe in time is known as the standard model of cosmology. In this talk I will explain exactly what cosmologists mean by the big bang and the standard cosmological model and what its limitations are. Attempts to address its limitations have led to ideas that suggest we may be living in a multiverse.

Speaker: Darsh Kodwani

Darsh Kodwani is a DPhil student in the Physics department at the University of Oxford. His research has focused on understanding gravity on broad range of scales – from the very early universe to the nature of black holes. Most recently he has been studying how the universe started to get to where it is today. When not doing physics you will find Darsh either on the football pitch or sitting somewhere watching football.

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03/2019: ATOM Festival

There will be no talk by the ATOM Society in March, but members are invited to attend the Atom Festival of Science and Technology 2019. See http://www.atomfestival.org.UK/ for more information.

Members will be able to attend the talk on the evening of March 22. They will have to book the tickets through the festival web page, but will receive a booking code for a complementary ticket from the secretary on request.

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02/2019: Active Aging (S. Suri)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 21 February 2019 from 19:00 for 19:30

King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: Active Ageing: Exercise and Brain Health

Every 3 seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. But dementia is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. Lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure and obesity can accelerate brain ageing, whereas physical activity can help promote brain health. In this session, we will explore the opportunities and challenges an ageing population may bring, and the types of physical activities that are enjoyed by older adults and people with dementia. We will discuss how neuroimaging studies can help us understand the effects of lifestyle on brain health, and how to think critically about scientific research and reporting.

Speaker: Sana Suri

Dr Sana Suri is a neuroscientist at the University of Oxford. Her research combines different brain imaging methods to study risk and resilience for dementia. After completing her undergraduate degree in the National University of Singapore, Sana moved to Oxford where she received her DPhil in neuroscience. Her doctoral research revealed changes in the brain’s vascular health in young adults with a risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease. Sana has recently been awarded an Alzheimer’s Society Postdoctoral Fellowship to investigate how dementia risk genes interact with lifestyle to influence the ageing brain.

Sana is a keen science communicator and has written several articles for The Conversation and the University of Oxford Blog. Her scientific outreach has been recognised by the Association of British Science Writers, the Alzheimer’s Society, and in UK Parliament.

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01/2019: Galaxies & Black Holes (R. Davies)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 17 January 2019 from 19:00 for 19:30

King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: Galaxies & Black Holes

Using Hubble Space Telescope and giant ground based telescopes we have discovered supermassive black holes, with masses ranging from millions to billions times the mass of the Sun, at the very centre of massive galaxies. In this talk I will show how we measure the masses black holes and go on to reveal the close relationship between black holes and the evolution of the galaxies that host them. In exploring this question we will discover an unexpected twist in the story of galaxy evolution.

Speaker:  Roger Davies

Roger Davies is the Philip Wetton Professor and Director of the Hintze Centre for Astrophysical Surveys at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Christ Church.

He grew up in an industrial town in the north of England attending the local grammar school and going on to read Physics at University College London. He started research working on galaxy dynamics in Cambridge in the 1970s after which he moved to California before spending 6 years on the staff of the US National Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. As part of the “7 Samurai” team he worked out a new way of measuring the distances to galaxies and discovered the “Great Attractor”, a huge concentration of galaxy clusters in the southern sky. He moved to Oxford in 1988 to lead the UK’s participation in the construction of the 8m Gemini telescopes, in Hawaii and Chile. In 1994 he took up the post of Professor of Astronomy at Durham University returning to Oxford in 2002 where he was Head of the Physics Department from 2005-10. He is the founding Director of the Hintze Centre for Astrophysical Surveys. He was President of the Royal Astronomical Society 2010-12, is a Fellow of University College London, and holds an Honorary Degree from Claude Bernard University in Lyon, France. He is currently President of the European Astronomical Society.

He has a long standing commitment to engaging the public in science and has lectured widely on modern astronomy including on the Cunard Queen Mary 2 liner. He has also led trips to see the Northern Lights and the 2017 total eclipse. His research interests centre on cosmology and how galaxies form and evolve. He has observed at many of the world’s leading observatories including those in the Canary Islands, Hawaii, Chile, Australia and the United States. He has also been involved in the development of new astronomical instruments & telescopes. In recent years he has pioneered the use of a new class of astronomical spectrograph to measure the masses and ages of galaxies, as well as search for black holes in their nuclei.

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