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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Summer internships in the space industry

The Space Placements in INdustry scheme (SPIN) provides an introductory link for those considering employment(and wanting to build experience) in the space sector with space sector organisations looking to find the most talented and enthusiastic people to ensure the future. It’s managed by the UK Space Agency and supported by the Satellite Applications Catapult. They offer paid summer internships with lots of benefits. Kathie Bowden from the UK Space Agency says:

“Please spread the word to your students there are some great opportunities now – and more to come –  in the next few weeks.”

Space Placements in Industry (SPIN) Satellite Applications Catapult

sa.catapult.org.uk

Use these self-help resources first to help you with your draft application answers and CV, then get some feedback from the Careers Service before you send it.  Make your application a good one!

 

 

 

Focus on: Lockheed Martin

LM_logo_grey

Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 105,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

Lockheed Martin UK has its HQ in London and 16 key sites across the UK from Cornwall to Glasgow. Working across Aeronautics, Missiles & Fire Control, Rotary and Mission Systems and Space (including partnerships in global communications, weather forecasting, space exploration and national security).

I met some of their staff recently at the recent UKSEDS Student Space Conference, including a recent astrophysics graduate. Their space division builds the satellites and spacecraft that do amazing things in space for government and commercial customers e.g. Lockheed Martin-built satellites give earlier warning of severe weather, connect troops on the battlefield, and deliver GPS directions to a billion people worldwide.

They recruit physics and astronomy students and graduates for summer internships and graduate positions. LM UK has a graduate programme and their are opportunities globally too

To find out more visit Lockheed Martin

IBM Universities Business Challenge UoE success

Maxwell’s Angels came 4th in the grand final in London!

Over 300 teams UK-wide took part in this highly competitive challenge, the majority from university business schools.  The School of Physics & Astronomy got three teams to the Edinburgh semi-final (one winning best presentation) and this team (mentored by Vicky Clark of The DataLab) to the London final so did Edinburgh proud. It just shows how good our students are – and how studying physics & astronomy can make you capable of doing more than you might think!

Here they are getting their certificates.

Team Maxwells Angels

Maxwells Angels 4th in grand final

M3 Consulting open days next week

M3 Consulting will be hosting open days next week in Edinburgh and Glasgow.  These are targeted at STEM students, including physics & astronomy students and are quite tech specific. They will also be  advertising their internship and graduate opportunities.

M3 Edinburgh event

M3 Glasgow event

They have quite a range of graduate opportunities, including software development in the aviation sector if you have:

  • Knowledge of a programming language like Java, C++, C# or Python
  • Excellent analytical and numeracy skills
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

Success at IBM Universities Business Challenge semi-final!

The Universities Business Challenge Worldwide is the world’s longest established simulation-based competition designed to develop employability and enterprise skills. Supported by the UK and South Africa’s leading universities and graduate employers, over 30,000 students have benefitted from taking part in the UBC Worldwide Challenge since 1998.

UPDATE*** 

  • Maxwell’s Angels won the semi-final so onto the final in London on the 22nd!
  • Team Kepler came third and won best presentation on the day
  • Here’s what Tommaso said:

    Even though we didn’t qualify I’m still happy with the semi-final as I wasn’t even expecting to get there. As a theoretical physics student I had no background in business or any related subject (not even in high school) and I feel I have learnt a lot from it.

I am very proud to be supporting all three School of Physics & Astronomy teams who have made it to the IBM UBC semi-final in Edinburgh today.  The teams are Maxwell’s Angels led by Sania Lewis, Kepler led by Adam Thomas-Mitchell and Maxwell’s Demons led by Wesley Shao.  SOPA teams have done well in this competition so I am wishing them lots of luck. If you want to know more about the IBM UBC, you can find it here.

Semi-final winners! Maxwell’s Angels led by Sania Lewis – Emma Elley, Elizabeth Applequist, Hildegard Metzger, Olivia Ngan

IBM team1

Team Kepler led by Adam Thomas-Mitchell, Brendan Martin, Amilah Choudhury, Rebecca Cassidy and Thomas Stanton

IBMteam2

Maxwell’s Demons led by Wesley Shao, Karel Vesely, Clara Edmonds,  Tommaso Bruggi, Margot Van Laar

ibmteam3IBMUBC

What can I do with Physics? Guitar valves to fluids to polymers to image analysis

Ewan shows how a degree in Physics can take you in interesting directions.

engineer canon medical

Ewan Hemingway, Research Engineer, Canon Medical Research Europe 

I first studied physics at Edinburgh University for the Computational Physics MPhys degree. I was interested in acoustics at the time and my Masters project looked at numerical modelling of guitar value amplifiers. However, one of the 5th year elective courses that really grabbed my attention was a series on soft matter physics, and this prompted me to pursue PhD opportunities. Following a recommendation, I joined an EPSRC-funded PhD in the Physics department at Durham University. There I worked on various problems in computational fluid dynamics, specifically in the area of active matter (the study of living fluids).

I was also lucky to gain some industrial experience through a consultation / research project with Schlumberger.

After my PhD, I stayed in Durham for two more years as a post-doc, where I focused on modelling flow instabilities in polymer physics.

Most recently, I joined Canon as a research engineer in the Image Analysis group. I have been there for just under a year, but already I have worked on a range of interesting problems, e.g., using deep learning for image segmentation.

Featured employers with current grad and summer vacancies: Sharp & PA Consulting

Sharp Laboratories of Europe has had significant  involvement and success in the development of semiconductor laser diodes and laser based optical systems that are used in many products such as  image projectors, BluRay disc players and in next  generation AR smart glasses.  They are now looking for a researcher/engineer to join their device modelling theme located on the  Oxford Science Park, Oxford.

Vacancy on LinkedIn

PA Consulting is a management consultancy whose Technology Practice is a place where science, technology and market needs meet to think up solutions for some of the most perplexing problems in business. It’s about developing new products, original processes, advanced systems and unique technologies for clients who are often market-leaders. Ultimately, it’s about revolutionising industries by thinking differently, taking a fresh approach and challenging convention. They have a 10-week internship on offer

Working with like-minded scientists and engineers, you’ll take responsibility for vitally important elements of a development project. Very early in your internship you might find yourself getting involved in developing a new medical device, new diagnostics or a new consumer product. You could see a product at any stage from concept through prototype manufacture and even launch.

Vacancy on LinkedIn

Focus on: Arup and its services to clients

Arup is a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy that offers a really wide rage of services to its clients. A “global firm of designers, engineers, planners and business consultants providing a range of professional services to clients around the world”. This then translates into an interesting range of opportunities and areas for graduates to  work in, including building physics, radiation protection and acoustics & vibration.

Find out more about Arup and its opportunities for our students & graduates on MyCareerHub. Check the archive to see what they have offered.

Arup services grpahic (2)

Careers in Government Operational Research Services

What is Operational Research (OR)?
Using mathematical techniques and software to solve complex organisational problems. and make better decisions! “The science of better” www.scienceofbetter.co.uk.

Many examples worldwide include: workforce scheduling; building networks; processing queues.

GORS is the UK Government’s community of OR analysts,  600+ strong, working across 25+ departments.  Examples of their work: – Optimisation techniques to estimate the number of desks needed to minimise queues through airport immigration – Prioritise funding for development projects in rural areas

They require a numerate degree, they want physicists and they have current vacancies in Scotland.

Good case studies and more details here