01/2020: LHC (T. Huffman)

Place and Time:
Abingdon, Thursday 16 January 2020 from 19:00 for 19:30
King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: CERN and the Profoundly Unknown

In 2012 two of the major experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN discovered the Higgs boson. The two experiments are called “CMS” and “ATLAS” and I work with the ATLAS experiment. This was the last major prediction of the “Standard Model” of particle physics.

The accelerator though, has not stopped running since then. And in fact the energy of the beams has almost doubled. So what is it that we are doing? And why are we doing it?

In this presentation I hope to explain why we are continuing to look at this data through the window of my own research efforts which do still centre around the Higgs boson. I will explain about the Higgs and how we search for it. I will then explain why it is important to now search for cases where we produce two or more Higgs bosons at the same time. I will show the results we have obtained so far and then also talk about the immediate future of the Large Hadron Collider and where this kind of fundamental physics goes from here.


Todd Huffman is a professor of physics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall. His research is in particle physics and focusses on discovering new particles and forces at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Prof. Huffman’s current research is focused on the search for events that occurred within the LHC which produced two Higgs bosons…so-called “diHiggs” events.

Prof. Huffman received an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Nebraska in the United States, the University that is in the state where he spent his childhood. He worked as an apprentice engineer for General Motors corporation as a co-operative student in order to obtain sufficient funds to top-up his scholarships for his undergraduate degree. He obtained a Fellowship moved to studying Physics in graduate school at Purdue University in Indiana where he received his Masters degree and then, in 1992, his Ph.D. in Physics.

From there his post-doctoral career was as a researcher in Particle Physics based at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory just outside of Chicago Illinois but working for the University of Pittsburgh. In 1997 he accepted a “Research Officer” position at Oxford and came to the UK, but one year later a full lectureship opened up to which he applied and won in 1998 in association with Lady Margaret Hall, where he has stayed first bringing Oxford into a collaboration at Fermilab and then joining the ATLAS experiment at CERN.

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12/2019: Christmas Social

Members and their guests will meet for our yearly Christmas Social on 5th December at the King’s Head and Bell at 19:30. There will be a buffets and tickets (which are sponsored by the society) are £5 per person and are on sale at October and November meetings or by emailing the secretary. Drinks will have to be bought from the bar.

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11/2019: AGM & Talk: Sustainable Farming (N. Rowe)

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

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

The evening will start with a short AGM followed by a talk.

AGM Agenda

  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Minutes of last meeting
  3. Matters arising
  4. Chairman’s Report
  5. Treasurer’s Report
  6. Elections
    1.  Officers
      1. Chair
      2. Secretary
      3. Treasurer
    2. Ordinary Members
  7. Atom Festival
  8. Christmas Party
  9. Ideas for 2020
  10. Any Other Business

Talk TITLE: Sustainable Farming

Never has the debate surrounding the causes and effects of Climate Change been more intense, with powerful interests and lobby’s controlling the narrative. The world’s Farmers and their Cows are a soft target often blamed for a significant contributions to man-made climate change. The speaker would like to present an alternative model of livestock production: ” Speaking on behalf of the Cow”. Maybe the problem are the choices forced on farmers and cows by external powers? Maybe we as a consumer could be the answer?

Speaker: Neil Rowe

Neil has 40 years’ experience managing high performance beef and dairy farms, working with both conventional and organic systems. In 2004 was awarded a Nuffield scholarship to study ‘Voluntary milking systems and automated milk harvesting’. He has a reputation for innovation, sustainable farming and knowledge transfer, being a regular speaker at conferences and farmer meetings. For the last ten years alongside farm management Neil has been providing Agricultural consultancy to farmers and industry. In the last 5 years he has been a finalist or winner in 3 national awards and for 25 years he has been an Ambassador for the charity “Send a Cow”.

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10/2019: Memory (Udale, Slavkova)

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

This event will be in the King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA) again.

TITLE: Understanding the Components of Memory

Where did I put my keys? Who hasn’t felt the frustration of losing their keys soon after putting them down?  This is a common experience due to everyday lapses in attention and working memory – our ability to temporarily ‘hold things in mind’.  We rely on working memory every day to hold things in mind, solve problems and to make sense of the continuous stream of perception.  We will talk about what working memory is, and give some examples of the important functions it serves in our everyday lives. As we age, people often experience their memory getting worse.  In clinical settings, we see many people who have no neurological issues, but report having much worse memory problems. We will discuss potential factors that might contribute to these lapses in attention and short-term memory and review some of the available assessments.


Elitsa Slavkova is a Clinical Research Coordinator and Cognitive Behaviour Therapist. She has contributed to the research design and clinical implementation of a stroke-specific cognitive screen in the NHS, as well as conducting research with people with subjective and mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Rob Udale is a Cognitive Psychologist with a PhD in Experimental Psychology.  I use behavioural experiments and computational modelling to understand human attention, memory, and visual cognition.  I am currently working in Professor Masud Husain’s Cognitive Neurology lab at The University of Oxford.


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09/2019: Moon (R. Bamford)

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

Due to renovation work at the KH & B our events will temporarily be happening at Old Magistrates Courtroom (OMC) in the Guildhall.

TITLE: Lunar Swirls – How to Protect Astronauts at the Moon

Lunar swirls are optically distinct features that are found in several locations on the Moon’s surface. Lunar swirls are not related to impact craters and show no difference in surface texture (numbers or type of rocks or boulders), but do show differences in the amount of Space Weathering relative to their surroundings. The solar wind bombardment on the lunar “soil” makes it darker over time. The white lunar swirls are regions where the surface has been protected from this Space Weathering due to magnetic fields. The Moon has no overall magnetic field, but there are small regions of low level magnetic field that create protective pockets. Studying these natural shelters may help us to create artificial storm shelters for astronauts in the new Lunar space station, the first module of which is being built by European Space Agency and due to be launched in 2023.

Speaker: Ruth Bamford

Ruth  is a research physicist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory space science Department at the Harwell Campus. As Space Plasma Physics Theme Leader she works on the origin of cosmic rays and means to protect against them for astronauts and instruments. She works closely with laboratory-astro and fundamental plasma physics teams from Universities, STFC’s Central Laser Facility (CLF) and Culham Center for Fusion Energy. Prior to working on “outdoor plasmas” like the aurora, ionosphere and space plasmas, she was working for 12 years on “indoor plasmas” at Culham in the pursuit of fusion energy. Ruth is a visiting scientist at Uni of Oxford and is a member of the ESA Plasma Topical Science Team for the planned Lunar Orbiting Platform-Gateway international space station.

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