Chocolate expertise

The science of what makes good chocolate has been revealed by researchers studying a 140-year-old mixing technique. The team in the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy have uncovered the physics behind the process responsible for creating chocolate’s distinctive smooth texture.

Scientists have uncovered the physics behind the process – known as conching – which is responsible for creating chocolate’s distinctive smooth texture. The findings may hold the key to producing confectionary with lower fat content, and could help make chocolate manufacturing more energy efficient. A team led by the University of Edinburgh studied mixtures resembling liquid chocolate created using the conching process, which was developed by Swiss confectioner Rodolphe Lindt in 1879.

Their analysis, which involved measuring the density of mixtures and how they flow at various stages of the process, suggests conching may alter the physical properties of the microscopic sugar crystals and other granular ingredients of chocolate. Until now, the science behind the process was poorly understood. The new research reveals that conching – which involves mixing ingredients for several hours – produces smooth molten chocolate by breaking down lumps of ingredients into finer grains and reducing friction between particles.

Before the invention of conching, chocolate had a gritty texture. This is because the ingredients form rough, irregular clumps that do not flow smoothly when mixed with cocoa butter using other methods, the team says. Their insights could also help improve processes used in other sectors – such as ceramics manufacturing and cement production – that rely on the mixing of powders and liquids.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involved a collaboration with researchers from New York University. The work in Edinburgh was funded by Mars Chocolate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

For more information about science at Mars UK, visit their website.

Professor Wilson Poon, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy, who led the study, said:

We hope our work can help reduce the amount of energy used in the conching process and lead to greener manufacturing of the world’s most popular confectionary product. By studying chocolate making, we have been able to gain new insights into the fundamental physics of how complex mixtures flow. This is a great example of how physics can build bridges between disciplines and sectors.”

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Careers in Technology Fair – Wed 27th Feb

Here is a chance to challenge your thinking on what a career in tech looks like. It is an easy way to get to a range of organisations offering work experience and graduate roles related to tech. There will be Over 50 employers with internships and graduate opportunities and some interesting talks including:

How is tech changing roles across industries?Speakers will share fantastic examples of how tech is changing industries you might not traditionally think of as tech – agriculture, energy and medicine.

Open to students from all year groups – around half of the 50 + organisations attending will be recruiting students from any discipline, so don’t rule yourself out.  They want physics & astronomy students!

It doesn’t matter what stage you are at in your course or in planning your career, you can come along to this fair and find out about options for your future. Find out more here

Large grad scheme not for you? Suss out the alternatives – small can be beautiful!

I realise not everyone wants to work for a large recruiter via a graduate scheme yet sometimes it may feel like that is the only thing out there. They do tend to have lots of money to spend on marketing and recruitment so their profile is high. However, would it surprise you to know that only 15% of graduates go onto graduate schemes? Far greater numbers go on to work for smaller or medium-sized enterprises/organisations (SMEs) of up to 250 staff, often much fewer where there can be huge benefits including:

– Quicker selection process, usually just CV and cover letter, interview (no online tests!)
– Quicker timeline from application to start date (they tend to recruit as the work and projects demand)
– Less hierarchical work environment – contact with senior management
– More responsibility – more quickly
– Work across multiple projects
– Access to network for future career opportunities
– Employ lots of recent graduates
– Learn great skills

They just recruit very differently and may not have the time or resources to come to careers fairs or invest in recruitment marketing.  Often they use partners to help them recruit, especially if they are smaller start-ups who need talented graduates for interesting projects but don’t have an HR or recruitment team to do this.

I was aware today following our session on “No idea for your career”  that you may might not be aware of some of the graduate internship partner initiatives that are available where there are paid jobs with SMEs.  I have listed some below

If you are uncertain yet about career direction, or want to build up some valuable experience, these initiatives are a great idea to consider as a “stepping stone”.

Most work with SMEs and offer a great “first job” experience that could lead to a longer-term post with them or give you greater confidence and experience to apply for the next thing – which might be a graduate scheme or a different/similar role within another SME or in the public sector – or set up your own SME!

1) Employ.ed in an SME offers 4-10 week full time or part time internships within small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and is run by the Careers Service working with many SMEs, including tech start-ups. Benefits include having a varied role, lots of responsibility and often working alongside the founders of the company.

All opportunities are advertised throughout the year on MyCareerHub. Search MyCareerHub opportunities for ‘Employ.ed in an SME’ Roles are open to all final year undergraduates, postgraduate students or recent graduates from the University of Edinburgh (2 years after graduation)

Employ.ed in an SME

2) ScotGrad

Graduate placements through ScotGrad are designed to give you that first piece of graduate-level work experience. Placements can be 6 -12 months with one of Scotland’s growing organisations you’ll gain valuable experience working on a defined project, where you will make a significant impact on a small or medium-sized organisation. Science engineering and tech roles can be really well-paid too, far more than their minimum . Placements are advertised via MyCareerHub too and are available across a range of sectors, including:

Food and Drink
Science and Environment
Energy (Oil & Gas, Renewables)
Creative Industries
Travel and Tourism
IT/Enabling Technology
Construction and Forest Industries
Textiles
ScotGrad

3) Bright Green Business offers exciting opportunities for students and recent graduates to work with companies and organisations across Scotland. Their aim is to offer meaningful project-based placements to ensure that you are not only gaining credible work experience but that you are also able to have ownership of the work you produce. The placements are paid, run all year round and tend to be short-term ranging from 8 to 12 weeks. Roles range from environmental management, active travel, science & engineering to marketing & communication

​Bright Green

4) The Step Programme offers undergraduates and recent graduates a range of work experience opportunities. These can be either short term work placements, generally lasting between eight weeks and six months or longer term internships lasting between six and 12 months. All opportunities have a genuine development focus, are structured, project based and are all paid.

STEP

5) Adopt an intern

Find out more about ​Adopt an Intern

There are other ways to get a foot in the door in an SME so if there is a sector you are interested in come and get some advice from us.

The graduate market in 2018

Update from our Assistant Director about the graduate market in 2018. Some positive news, especially with SMEs

The Careers Service Blog

Ruth Donnelly summarises the findings of a recent survey.

High Fliers Research has just published a report about the graduate market in 2018, based on research with the UK’s 100 largest employers. Here are a few interesting snippets for students and new grads:

Large employers are cautiously optimistic about increasing the number of graduates they recruit in 2018. The biggest growth in vacancies is expected in public sector organisations, accounting and professional services firms and engineering and industrial companies.

Graduate recruitment in these large organisations fell last year, for the first time since the financial crash in 2009. This is most likely to be related to uncertainty about Brexit, but they are also carrying unfilled vacancies due to a lack of good applications for some specialist schemes and graduates turning down or reneging on offers. Average starting salaries in large companies remain at £30,000 p.a. with the highest salaries being…

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The physics of beer

beer soc

Dr Anne Pawsey is from the Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems (research area Soft Matters Physics). She will be presenting with The Beer Society to show the science in your pint.

Interested? Sign up here

To tie in with this event next week, I thought you’d enjoy a few more stories about the physics of beer tapping, beer and physics, 5 physics facts you didn’t know about beer and the science behind the perfect pint. If your taste runs to champagne, see my earlier blog post

There are many opportunities for physicists in research & development in the food and drink industries.

Our very own Dr Tiffany Wood, Director of the Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership works with companies from a wide range of industries including the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and drink and agrochemical sectors. Dr Wood is also on the Member’s Advisory Group of the Society of Chemical Industries (SCI) which brings together physicists, chemists, engineers, biologists and other disciplines working in a range of academic and industry contexts

The SCI has a number of Technical Interest Groups, providing opportunities to exchange ideas and gain new perspectives on markets, technologies, strategies and people. The Food group is one of the largest and it:

actively encourages university-level students to take up careers in food related subjects through competitions and through our programme of topical, challenging and interesting meetings”.

 

Focus on nuclear: growth & diversity

The Nuclear Institute is the professional body and learned society for the nuclear industry, covering both the civil and defence nuclear sectors. The website has a good introduction to the industry.  This is a growth areas especially in quality and safety roles.

UK_Nuclear_Industry_cover

They host the Nuclear Institute Young Generation Network, an ever-expanding group of young nuclear professionals with a platform for networking, education and career development. They also promote Women in Nuclear UK, set up to:

  • Attract more women to choose a career in the nuclear sector
  • Support retention and career progression of women in the industry

This is part of Women in Nuclear Global (WiN Global),  a world-wide non-profit making association of women working professionally in various fields of nuclear energy and radiation applications. Membership includes women and men working professionally in medicine and health care, in regulatory authorities, in industry and as independent researchers.

SCI Day of Science and Careers

Organised by  School of Physics academic Dr Tiffany Wood, Director of Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership and Chair, SCI Scotland Group

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Calling UG and PG students across all scientific disciplines

SCI’s Day of Science & Careers , University of Edinburgh, 5 April 2017

Explore a wide range of careers in science-based industries. Speakers from industrial, academic and independent backgrounds will present their career pathway and offer insights in to what to look out for, and what to consider when choosing your next steps. Plus sessions on interview skills and CV writing, with opportunities to network with speakers and fellow delegates.

Talks will include the following areas:

  • Working in Analytical Chemistry
  • Intellectual Property & Patents
  • Life in an SME
  • Scientific Publishing
  • Academic Careers
  • Regulatory Affairs
  • Academic/Industrial Partnerships
  • Scientific Marketing

For the full timed programme and to book online please visit: http://bit.ly/DOSCS17

Day of Science and Careers Scotland 2017 flyer_final

Physics in business: from swimwear to Game of Thrones

physicsworks-sport    physics-works-touchscreen    physics-work-vfx

“In the future, there is the possibility of using new 2D materials where once there was carbon-fibre, using sensors and magnetic fields to improve goal-line technology, and employing laser scanning to improve swimming techniques.”
“The speed & simplicity of supermarket checkouts can mean that it’s easy to forget that they depend on the application of sophisticated laser equipment & high-tech optics.”
“For visual effects company BlueBolt – whose film and TV credits include Game of Thrones and Skyfall – knowledge of real-world physics informs a lot of decisions about how things look.”
If you want to know about how physics relates to different business sectors, the Institute of Physics (IOP) has a great series of resources to introduce you.  From areas as diverse as:
  • visual special effects (VFX) to sports equipment & technology
  • transport to touchscreens
  • supermarkets to computer games

the PhysicsWorks series is an easy and interesting read to understand how physics is applied in these very different areas.

To explore these sectors more, use the Occupations links on the Careers Service website.

NHS Scientist Training Programme

Latest stats for this programme in England and  Wales show that there are good opportunities for medical physicists in the STP. Overall competition has reduced:

There are approximately on average 22 applicants to every STP post (2016). In 2014 the figure was 31 applicants to every STP post and in the 2015 the figure was 26 applicants to every STP post.

For 2016 entry, clinical immunology had by far and away the highest competition ratio, with 80 applicants per post. There was some good news for the Medical Physicists though, with only 8 applicants per post.

Find out more here

Jobs in space

Great post from my colleague Matt Vickers about jobs in space. If you are keen to know more about Optics in Space, the June issue of Physics World has a good supplement on Optics & Photonics. Physics World has a series of supplements focussing on different areas of physics. They introduce you to the main players, academic and industry, often working in partnership in these areas. The articles and adverts give you a good idea who is working in these fields so great for making speculative applications.

The Careers Service Blog

Many thanks to my colleague Matt Vickers for this blog post which gives an overview of jobs in the space sector and details of an event taking place next week – Rebecca

From the 11th-17th July 2016 the famous Farnborough International Airshow takes place in Hampshire, England.  This biennial event (it alternates each year with the Paris Airshow) combines both a public event and trade show – both on a huge scale.  According to organisers, the 2014 Farnborough show attracted orders and commitments worth US $204 bn.

Focused on the aerospace sector and its supply chain, the trade show includes significant presence from companies and organisations involved in the global space industry.  The show’s trade website includes pages specifically covering the space industry, and shows the infographic below.  If this gets you excited about jobs in space and you want to find out more about the organisations behind the numbers, use the searchable exhibitor list to…

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