Dr. Tom Heinzl visited the DESY XFEL in April. This is a 1.5 million Euro X-ray free electron laser, situated in a 3 km long tunnel near Hamburg, Germany. It has just seen “first light” on 4th May (see http://www.xfel.eu). Tom attended a meeting of the HIBEF User Consortium (see https://indico.desy.de/conferenceDisplay.py?confId=16772), where he gave a talk on “Light-by-light scattering” This is a classically forbidden process that only becomes possible in quantum theory due to particle-anti-particle fluctuations of the vacuum. A variant of this process has recently been observed in heavy ion collisions at CERN (http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/66878). The HIBEF facility combines the DESY XFEL with high-power optical lasers. Such a unique combination may allow the first detection of light-by-light scattering in a purely electromagnetic setting (without recourse to high-energy matter particles such as heavy ions). Tom and collaborators at Plymouth University, Anton Ilderton and Ben King, are providing theory support for the HIBEF experimentalists who want to perform this fundamental physics experiment.
Dr. Ben King, from CMS at Plymouth University, recently visited Dr. Victor Dinu, a researcher at the University of Bucharest. His visit lasted one week. They collaborated on theoretical calculations of laser-particle physics. Ben adapted Victor’s code to work on the computer cluster at Plymouth University. Using forty cores, they were able to obtain a speed-up of about a factor 10. This was just a test run with a real part of the calculation, but it was a success, since the proof of principle of parallelizing the code was demonstrated.
Anton Ilderton, who has been recently hired as a lecturer in this school, recently went to India to a conference in India with the title: Laser Plasma Accelerator. The title of Anton’s talk was: fundamental quantum physics in intense laser fields. The video of the talk is below:
To mark British Science Week, Prof David McMullan and Dr Martin Lavelle gave talks on “Mathematics with Bubbles” to over 400 primary school children. The photograph shows the use of soap films to demonstrate part of the solution to Plateau’s conjectures.
TEDxPlymouthUniversity showcases new, exciting and inspirational ideas that can be found in Plymouth. This year the event is held on Thursday 9th March 2017 in the Roland Levinsky Building Plymouth University.
The event is series of presentations by researchers at Plymouth University, highlighting cutting edge research and insight. The talks range from poetry, art, to women’s rights.
Dr. Antonio Rago from the centre for mathematical sciences is presenting a talk with the title: A journey through elementary particles.
Christmas and the new year is a time for reflection and to look back on the events of the year. In science there are a number of conferences to review the progress in different fields. Member of the CMS who work on Quantum Field Theory at High Intensities are attending the end of year meeting: 2016 Christmas Meeting of the High Power Laser User Community at Abingdon School and Coseners House. A number of talks and posters are being presented by members of Plymouth’s Centre for Mathematical Sciences.
Below is a photograph of PhD student: Lauren Ansell presenting a poster on her research:
The picture below shows Dr Anton Ilderton giving a talk on his research:
The picture below is of Dr. Ben King presenting his talk at the meeting.
For the first time the theoretical physics group at Plymouth University is organizing a Particle Physics Master Class. Students at local schools we will be able to visit us for a day to work on experimental data from the experiments at the LHC. At the end of the day, the students will discuss their results via a video conference with physicists working on the experiments at CERN.