Celebrating Women’s day in 2016

Dr Luciana Dalla Valle of the Plymouth CMS was featured in Plymouth University’s celebration of the 2016 International Women’s day. This year the University featured Women in Science.

Dr Luciana Dalla Valle

Big Data are everywhere. My goal is to inspire and support new generations of data scientists from any nationality and gender. I teach and research how to extract from data underlying messages and useful insights that change the way we see the world.


Possible new particle at CERN

One of the central goals of particle physics is to find
the basic equations of nature, or even better to find the
basic principles from which the equations can be derived.
Physicist hope that the entire Universe can be explained
by the equations, which should fit on a T-shirt (small size rather
than extra-large size too).

The dream of physicists to find the ultimate equations
of physics has been hampered by the lack of firm experimental
evidence for new particles from Beyond the Standard model (BSM).
Last December, experimentalists presented some preliminary evidence
for a new particle. The signal seen by the two collaborations at
CERN could still be a statistical fluke. CERN is starting to collide
protons again, so they should be able to present a more definitive
result later this year. As of 1 March, 263 theoretical papers have been written  about what the what the signal from CERN could be.

There are many possibilities for what this potential new particle
could be, but many of the explanations involve strongly interacting
quantum field theories. The physics of strongly interacting
theories are difficult to study, unless the equations are solved
using large supercomputers. Dr. Antonio Rago is the principal
investigator for the UKQCDBSM project on the Dirac supercomputer
in the UK, whose purpose is to study strongly interacting theories on the computer to find candidate BSM theories.

Yesterday the results for this potential particle, from CMS and ATLAS at CERN, were updated, and the evidence for its existence slightly increased. Antonio is looking forward to the more definitive experimental results promised later this year.


A research visit to China

The modern way of doing science involves international collaboration
at many levels. The use of email and Skype has made is easier to work
with researchers in other countries, than it was say in Einstein’s
time, when letter writing and trips on ocean liners, were the only way
for far flung collaborators to work together.

Even in this electronically connected times, there is still no substitute for
researchers to physically visit each other (sometimes known as meeting
in meatspace). Dr. Ben King has been awarded 2000 pounds for a month
long visit to the CARDC (Chinese Aerodynamics Research and Development Center), by the Royal Society International Exchange Scheme, Ben will work with Dr. H. Hu on the project:
“Interaction of high power laser pulses with the quantum vacuum”.

China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center (CARDC).


Outreach talk at Big Bang Fair in Birmingham

Prof. David McMullan and colleagues from the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics are at the Big Bang Fair at Birmingham NEC, March 16th to 19th 2016. The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair is a  celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK.

David will be presenting a session with the title: Secrets and Knots with Mathematics.   

Talk at Excited QCD conference

Prof. Kurt Langfeld recently presented the results from his work on  developing methods to deal with finite density quantum field theories, which are important to understand  cold and dense quantum matter, at the international  Excited QCD workshop in Portugal. The workshop featured a broad range of talks in the field of hadron spectroscopy, from the leading international experts in the field. There were talks from people working at the big experiments at CERN, such as LHCb and ATLAS, as well representatives from facilities such as FAIR.


Excitement about the results from LIGO

There is a large theoretical physics group in the School of
Computing, Electronics and Mathematics at Plymouth University. So the group was excited to see the recent report of the detection of
gravitational waves, from two colliding black holes, by the LIGO
collaboration. We like to share our research experience, so within two days, we had made presentations to the students about LIGO. One in a course called the Quantum Universe and the other in Electrodynamics and Relativity (a third year course).



The OR Society’s Annual Careers Open Day

Late last year a group of staff and students went to the OR career fair, in Birmingham, organized by the OR society. The students had the chance to speak to a wide variety of companies, which offer jobs in operational research.


Below are some comments, Dr Ana Paula Palacios

        Companies are not looking for particular degrees, they hire students from a wide range of programs, including psychology, chemistry, OR, economics, etc. They do seem to prefer mathematicians, expecting to see such students with demonstrable problem-solving capabilities and the ability to think and analyse.

        They look for people with good communication skills, for example, to talk with clients. A job experience, of any kind, it is very good in this respect.

        Software and technical skills are often a secondary requirement. Most companies train their employees.

        It is good to have experience in any software, meaning that you know the logic of how software work and you can learn a new one.


Big data at Plymouth


The advent of online shopping, smart phones and social media services, such as facebook, has meant that there is a wealth of data about
consumers available to companies. One famous early application of
these ideas was google using search terms to map the  spread of
flu. The analysis of this use amount of data is called: “Big Data”.

The analysis of big data requires a trained work force, so we have introduced a new BSc program called data modelling and analytics

Below are some  posters for the recently introduced MSc Data Science and Business Analytics, developed by  Dr. Julian Stander and Dr. Luciana Dalla Valle.




Research seminar at Imperial College

What happens when a piece of research is done and published in a journal, or at least submitted to a preprint server at Cornell? The next step is to tell other people about it, by presenting a talk conference or giving a seminar at another  University.

So on 25/11/2015, Dr Ben King went to Imperial College to a present a seminar with the title: Laser-based strong-field QED. Ben visited the Plasma Physics research group at Imperial College. The abstract of the talk was:

Since the advent of the laser in the early 1960s, quantum electrodynamics (QED) has been used to predict a variety of new phenomena when charged particles interact with intense laser pulses.

Recent progress in high-intensity laser technology has put several of these phenomena in reach of near-future experiments. Unlike the technology, the progress of theory understanding beyond what was calculated by the 1970s has been limited. In this talk, I will outline some of the theory successes of laser-based strong-field QED and discuss the main challenges and potential benefits of solving them.


Dr Ben King