Award for best paper in international journal

The article below was circulated on the Staff bulletin.

Dr Ben King and Dr Tom Heinzl, both Lecturers in Theoretical Physics, have received the 2016 Editor-in-Chief Choice Award from the journal High Power Laser Science and Engineering (HPL). Their paper Measuring vacuum polarization with high-power lasers (doi: 10.1017/hpl.2016.1) was commended for delivering ‘new and important results’, and the pair have been invited to collect the award and give a talk on their research at the 3rd International Symposium on High Power Laser Science and Engineering in Suzhou, China next year.


Sabbatical at CERN

The staff in the mathematical sciences at Plymouth University have a number of different components to their job descriptions. It is obviously important to be an excellent teacher, but another part of the job description is maintaining  international leadership in a research field. There are other hidden part of the job too , such as administration.

If external support can be found, staff can take a sabbatical, typically for a year,  at another institution, so that can concentrate on their research. Dr. Antonio Rago from CMS is visiting CERN for the year 2017-2018 to work on research full time. He is working in the theory division of CERN.

Talk in Israel

Dr. Daniel Robertz from CMS is presenting a talk at the 23rd Conference on Applications of Computer Algebra  in Jerusalem. The title of the talk is: Towards a symbolic package for systems of nonlinear difference equations.


Difference algebra has been studied in analogy to differential algebra. However, concepts such as characteristic sets for differential systems have not been developed in the same generality for difference systems yet. In particular, methods such as the Rosenfeld-Gröbner algorithm, regular chains and Thomas decomposition for differential systems are not  available for difference systems. Among the
many applications of difference algebra is, e.g., the consistency analysis of finite difference schemes for partial differential equations.
This talk presents results of trying to transfer the concept of differential Thomas decomposition to systems of nonlinear difference equations and develop a symbolic package for systems of nonlinear difference equations. It reports on joint work with Vladimir Gerdt




Physics academics invited to share expertise in China

The following article was orginally circulated in the staff bulletin.

Two Theoretical Physics Lecturers have just returned from China after sharing their research with a number of high-profile organisations. Dr Ben King gave lectures on strong field physics at the National University of Defence Technology (NUDT) summer school in Changsha, and was also invited to collaborate with researchers at the China Aerodynamics Research and Development Centre (CARDC), where he spent one month working on quantum electrodynamics in intense fields. Meanwhile, Dr Tom Heinzl went to Shanghai to present his research and sit on the committee of an International Review Meeting thanks to sponsorship from the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The meeting’s purpose was to discuss and review the scientific opportunities for the ‘Station of Extreme Light’ (SEL) at the Shanghai Coherent Light Facility (SCLF), and explore the conceptual design and technical approach towards a 100-petawatt laser.

Talk at GECCO 2017

This month Dr. Matthew  Craven is talking at the  Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2017)  in Berlin.

The titles of Matthew’s talks are below

  • Exploring the (Efficient) Frontiers of Portfolio Optimization
    Matthew J. Craven, David I. Graham
  • BBIOS: A Characterization of Evolutionary Algorithm Stability
    Matthew J. Craven, Simon P. Martin

School planning day

Although the current teaching has finished for the year, this doesn’t mean that the staff can start a long vacation, only to resurface again in the middle of September.  The summer time is a good time for staff to concentrate on research and network by presenting their work at international conferences.

Also, the summer is a good time to start to plan for the next year’s teaching. Tomorrow the staff in the school, from Computing, Mathematics and Electrical Engineering will meet together for a day long meeting at Plymouth University’s Marine Station.

As well as updates on planning from the School Executive, the meeting will include talks and workshops on: making the most out of lectures lasting two hours, and how to use skype and webinars in teaching.

As well as the cool river front location, the food is normally pretty good.