Service to the theoretical physics community

There are many different tasks that an academic must complete. One such important task is applying for grants to do research. A proposal is written and submitted to a funding agency, such as STFC. A committee looks at the proposals and asks for them to be reviewed by referees. After the referee reports are returned, the committee then uses them to help decide whether the grant is approved. The bulk of the members of the committees are also academics. When a grant application of a member of the committee is discussed, that person has to leave the room. Although the commitee members sometimes get paid a small amount of money for being a member of these committees, they usually do it because it is a “service” to their community.

Currently STFC is deciding what grants to give out to do theoretical particle physics. This is job is done by the Particle Physics Grants Panel. Dr. Antonio Rago from CMS is serving on this committee. Antonio also serves on the  Particle Physics/Nuclear Theory Sub-Panel for the allocation of computer time via Dirac in the UK.

Course on writing Apps

One of the advantages of the mathematics sciences group being embedded in a wider school means that there are additional training opportunities. For example, last week Jim Bennet from Microsoft visited the University of Plymouth to show the new Xamarin.Forms product. This allows users to write cross-platform Apps for both the android and Iphone systems. The Apps could connect with the cloud and also use AI services in the cloud. There was also a workshop on the Internet of Things.

The visit was organized by Dr Nicholas Outram in Electrical Engineering. Although the visit was aimed at computing, there was a staff member from CMS and a student on the undergraduate maths program attending as well.

Later on on the year, there will be another visit from a person from Microsoft, who will explain the AI offerings in more detail.

The material presented at the event is here.

Research seminar

There are many tasks that at active researcher must do, such as reading relevant papers, in addition to actually performing the calculations required in the research. Another important way to keep current in a research area is to attend research seminars. Normally an external speaker will visit a research group and present a 1 hour talk followed by questions. (Often the research group will take the speaker to dinner afterwards, where there will be further discussion about the research and some general gossip.)

Recently Fernando Jimenez Alburquerque from Oxford University presented a seminar in the pure mathematics seminar at the CMS with the title: An introduction to variational integrators.

Abstract: In this talk we shall introduce the basic notions on geometric integration of mechanical systems, naturally described by Lagrangian/Hamiltonian dynamics. The numerical approximation of such dynamics, respecting its underlying geometrical aspects, represents a crucial challenge in modern geometric integration. Variational integrators [MaWe2001], class of geometric integrators that have received a lot of attention from the mathematical community in the last two decades, are a well-established example of numerical schemes that succeed in such a task, and moreover display a superior performance in some aspects than benchmark numerical integrators. We shall go over their definition and fundamental properties. Finally, we shall also introduce future challenges of variational integrators when approximating the dynamics of dissipative mechanical systems.

[MaWe2001] J.E.Marsden and M. West: “Discrete mechanics and variational integrators”, Acta Numerica 10, pp. 357-514, (2001).

The audience had members from the pure mathematics, theoretical physics and applied mathematics groups. The physics group was interested, because the techniques are similar to those in this paper.

Poster session for 3rd year projects

An important part of the final year in a mathematics degrees is working on an individual project. A topic and supervisor is chosen. The student does research into an area of mathematics, statistics, or physics that they are interested in. On Wednesday 8th May there was a poster session, where the students explained their work using a poster they had created. Staff members, other students and representatives from industry viewed the posters and then they asked questions.

Below is a partial list of topics of the posters:

  • Relativistic Charge Dynamics in Electromagnetic Fields
  • Elliptic Curves and Cryptography
  • Gravitational Waves
  • The Path Integral Formalism
  • Investigation of ONS Personal Well-being Data Using Data Visualisation and Data Mining Techniques
  • How Risk Theory is used within the Actuarial Profession
  • Statistical techniques for Financial Asset Management

Students who have identified a topic of particular interest have the opportunity to study it in a final year project. Students work individually and independently, with help and advice from a supervisor, on the chosen topic. The project is assessed through presentations and the preparation of a dissertation. This is a major piece of work and the project counts as two modules

The official description of the content of a third year student project.

Talk at conference in Denmark

Vincent Drach was invited to an interdisciplinary conference  of the CP3-Origins lab  held on 20/05/2019 to the 24/05/2019 in Odense, Denmark.
The conference was “dedicated to charting fundamental interactions by bridging the gap between theory and experiments from particle physics to quantum gravity and cosmology”. The conference brought  together theorists and experimental physicists and it will be an opportunity to discuss synergies and foster new collaborations       .
The conference also celebrated  CP³ 10th anniversary.
Dr. Drach talk was about presenting the latest  prediction that can be used by experiments at CERN to constraint New Physics beyond the Standard Model.

Trigonometry proof

University of Plymouth 2nd year student Dhru Shah, BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Statistics, shows you how to prove that sine squared plus cosine squared equals one for an arbitrary angle, theta.